I REMEMBER growing up when my parents would bring me and my siblings to Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, to my grandparents during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Traveling from Manila to the province, the air was filled with the chanting of "pabasa" singers, a Catholic practice where groups of individuals took turns in chanting verses about the life and death of Jesus Christ. Until early 2000, this practice was still present. Malls and establishments were closed in observance of the Holy Week.

But times have changed. The pabasa is scant in the country, if not totally gone. Malls and other business establishments are open during this Holy Week. In fact, in my count, 35 major malls are open either on Maundy Thursday only or including Good Friday. Resorts all over the country are filled with local tourists. As early as Monday of the Holy Week, Boracay was reported to be nearly 100 percent full.

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