(Very) Good Friday In Bantayan Island

I’ve heard a lot about Bantayan Island’s ‘unique’ Holy Week celebration. They say that the ‘Semana Santa’ in Bantayan is truly a must-see. According to these stories, while Christians all over the world sit quietly and fast in their homes, Bantayanons eat meat (lechon, to be more specific) and hold huge parties during Christendom’s most holy period. Why, exactly, you ask? Well, local historians say that in the 1800s, a papal permission exempted the residents of Bantayan Island from their religious duty on Good Friday. It is said that Bantayanon fishermen usually do not set out to fish during Good Friday. And since Bantayanons usually eat fish, they eat meat on Good Friday, instead. And (luckily, hehe) this tradition survived until this very day.

Here is my little coverage of the Semana Santa in the beautiful island of Bantayan. Hope you like the photos.





The Good Friday procession. Probably Bantayan Island’s most well-attended event.

The town of Bantayan is around 30 minutes from Santa Fe. To get there, you can ride the jeep (25 pesos each.) Here is the scene at the unloading lot specifically set aside for the event. The organizers were obviously anticipating a huge turn-out this year.

The major thoroughfares were closed to traffic because of the procession. Here, you can see the very well-disciplined Bantayanons silently crossing the bridge.

The roads leading to the procession route were expectedly busy. The mood was festive. Food and merchandize were sold at the roadside.

One of the many carozzas that we saw. This carozza was pulled by a bunch of young boys. It was powered by its very own power generator.

The boys and their machine.

On top of each carozza is a tableau which features life size statues. More than 30 carrozas were used during the procession. This one features the tenth station of the cross – Jesus is stripped of His garments.

Each carozza has its own entourage which includes candle/torch bearing sacristans, a priest, and devotees who pray and sing during the whole procession.

I heard that each carozza is sponsored by one particular family. Now wonder the carozzas look really nice.

The carozza stopping for a short while in front of the oldest parish church in Cebu.

This carozza looked  really nice in person.

This child is dressed as the Santo Niño. Really cute.

Another very powerful tableau depicting Jesus’ death on the cross.

Jesus’ ribcage is pierced by a soldier’s spear.

Jesus’ body is removed from the cross.

Another kid in a Santo Niño outfit.

The Pieta.

Santo Entierro or the Holy procession leading to Jesus’ burial.

The carozzas of the stations of the cross were followed by the carozzas of saints.

A nice-looking carozza.

Close-up of a statue of a saint.

More carozzas.

Inside the church compound, candles and prayers are being offered.

A devotee lighting a few candles.

A young girl paying homage to the statue of Saints Peter and Paul.

View of the church interior. Nice.

Near the altar, the Santo Sepulcro can be seen.

Every Good Friday, a statue of the dead body of Jesus Christ encased in a glass coffin is displayed near the altar for public viewing.

Devotees offering homage to Jesus Christ.

View of the street in front of the church.






The town plaza, which is normally quiet is teeming with life on Good Friday.

Visit Bantayan Island now!