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DOMINGO DE PASCUA


Even before 4:00 AM on Easter Sunday, women selling candles
are already up and at their places, expecting brisk sales 
from the event that is about to unfold.
 


At exactly 4:00 AM, two processions leave the church compound in
opposite directions. The first is the procession of the Virgin Mary,
together with Saints Peter and John, and the three Marys.
 


The other procession has one solitary image: 
the Risen Christ owned by the Garcia family.
 


At the church patio, a structure called galilea
has been set up for the second Salubong of the Holy Week.
 


The little girl playing the role of an angel is fussed over by
the priest as she takes her position on a hanging chair.
She needs all the assurances so she will
not do something that could be immortalized
in photos and videos, and which could hound her for
the rest of her life -- panic and cry.
 


She is pulled up to the top of the 
two-storey-high galilea to await her cue.
 


The processions with the statues of the Risen Christ and the Virgin Mary
finally arrive at the church patio.
 


The two images are positioned facing each other below the galilea, 
to reenact the first encounter between the Risen Christ and His Mother.
The priest recites a short prayer, and offers incense to the Virgin.
 


Then the band strikes up a special tune, and on cue, the "angel" is
gently lowered to snatch the black shawl of the Virgin Mary...
 


to the delight and applause of the audience.
 


A choir of young girls sing hosannas to the Virgin 
while showering her with flower petals.
 


With the Salubong over, it's back to church.
 


The image of the Risen Christ is taken inside...
 


together with that of the Virgin Mary, 
and installed at the main altar for the Easter Sunday Mass.
 


In the eyes of a little boy, Semana Santa
has been a week full of wonder -- scenes he had never
seen before; sounds he had never heard before.
Experiences that he is bound to recount again and again when he grows up...
to his children... and his children's children.
 

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