Holy Week blues

It is my ambition to be a normal Filipino and flee the city during the annual Holy Week break and head off to some interesting and “happening” destination like [ the usual ] Boracay island, Bohol, Palawan, Camiguin, Siargao, Bali, Phuket, Chiang Mai, the Maldives, even Madagascar…

Or even to Sevilla, Espana to witness the hieratic “Viernes Santo Madrugada” Procession of the legendary “Nuestra Madre y Senora de la Esperanza Macarena”… 

Unfortunately, it just isn’t possible.  I am the one solely responsible for the maintenance of the family traditions during Holy Week in the Espiritu, Arnedo, Escaler, and Gonzalez hometown of Apalit, Pampanga.  If I don’t go, nothing will happen.




  1. becco esquieres empleo said,

    September 7, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    same here, mr. toto. my dream is to simply see what’s happening inside the church; i never heard the “siete palabras” live; or see how they venerate the cross; or how the other families prepare their “santos,” or be a typical filipino guy observing “viernes santo.” since i’m the sole “camarero” left by my grandpa, on how to do this and that, with my other relatives as “visita,” i’m completely preoccupied.

    but i’m happy… sometimes i just feel i’m within a boundary, and want to explore more. thank God, now there’s flickr.com .

  2. Blue-Blooded Yapster said,

    June 20, 2008 at 3:03 am

    Dear toto,

    i’d like to be taken to apalit..if only to see other santos for the holy week which i have never done for the past 28 years. like you…we are tied to a tradition of standing by our (not really ours though…hahahaha) santo like the good friday entierro and the easter resurrection…. well you know us in Binan…it’s really a family … if not a baranggay thing.=p


  3. Janice S said,

    November 3, 2007 at 2:53 am

    Hello Toto,

    Growing up, I spent Holy Week in Apalit. I remember it was the house of Kuya Odo Lopez family. So then, my father would bring us there. When we heard the “pabasa” the first time, my sister and I couldn’t help giggling. ayun, napagalitan kami ng mga matatanda.

    And during the town fiesta of Apalit, we would go there too. we would join the procession, and yes, there was even a time we rode the “baroto”..

    I just love your blog Toto… keep on sharing…


  4. June 15, 2007 at 9:00 am


    It amazes me how the final preparations of the images and “carrozas” for the processions can actually take the whole day…!!! And I already have a whole “barrio” to do it!!!

    Actually, You have the ideal set-up [ in Talisay, Negros Occidental ]: the beautiful and pristine Lizares-Alunan ancestral “bahay-na-bato,” intact family assets, antique image of “Santa Maria Magdalena,” antique “carroza,” and elegant visiting relatives. I have exactly the opposite: the old family houses in Sulipan [ Apalit, Pampanga ] devolved to everybody else but us, the heirs neglected and sold off everything, the family assets were dispersed and dissipated, many of the old images were destroyed during The War, same with the “carrozas,” and the remaining elegant relatives refuse to visit unless the venue is airconditioned, the food excellent [ preferably homemade with the best ingredients by the old staff but “Via Mare” will do ], the china, silver, and crystal elegant, and the crowd equally chic.

    If Adjie Lizares says that the “carrozas” of the Gonzagas in Bacolod City are fabulous…. then they must be!!!

    I don’t know how the Escuderos of San Pablo can bring out all those images and “carrozas” — twelve or more — for their Good Friday Procession sooooo effortlessly!!!

    I am in charge of the Arnedo “Santo Entierro” [ early 19th century; mid 19th century “calandra” and angels but no masterpiece like several others in Pampanga ], the Gonzalez “Santa Maria Magdalena” [ a 1946 reconstruction by Maximo Vicente; 1880 ivory original bombed with the Gonzalez house ], and the Escaler “Apung Manalangin” / Agony in the Garden / “Oracion en el Huerto” [ a recent reconstruction; the original was neglected, sold, and lost by a branch of the family ].

    I just perform the annual “Holy Week duties” out of respect for the memory of my late “Lola Charing” [ Rosario Arnedo de Gonzalez, 1903 – 1977 ], whom I loved very, very, very much.

    On to Sevilla then!!!

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. Adrian Lizares said,

    June 13, 2007 at 12:25 am

    Oh Toto I know exactly how you feel each Holy Week and I have come to accept the fate that comes with the job of being caretaker of the “traditions”. My God I can’t even pop in on Bacolod’s procession to see the fabulous Gonzaga carrozas being too preoccupied with our own here in Talisay! Family members who are in town would for sure drop in on the big house and it would be a small reunion of sorts!
    I can only look forward to it and shun all invitations for R&R for more personal and spiritual reasons. I feel great doing it though!
    And now it is more comforting to know that you are out there in Apalit each Good Friday going thru the entire process! You shouldn’t seem to be so lonely out there though. 🙂 And one day we will all leave this for what else? Sevilla!
    What is your santo?

  6. April 27, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Tito Toto,

    We will go to Sevilla someday… LOLSZ!

  7. April 27, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    I wish there is a Holy Week procession here in my place… hay!

  8. zippo said,

    April 21, 2007 at 12:19 am

    By the way, Toto. Does Tito Ado E still have his Holy Week extravaganza in San Pablo? Is it still UN-sanctioned by the Diocese?


  9. zippo said,

    April 21, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Now I know where to take my family for Holy Week next year. This year I took the family to see the Soledad De Porta Vaga Good Friday Procession in Cavite City where the congregation walked the whole procession route un-shod. Last year, I took them to see the Santo Entierro procession in Sarrat Ilocos, Norte.

    I really want my kids to experience the different Holy Week celebrations in the Philippines.

    Are there any nice places to stay in the Apalit area?


  10. April 18, 2007 at 10:46 am


    The beautiful antique image and giltwood “carroza” of the “Dolorosa” of the Malig Family of Bacolor, Pampanga has been preserved after it survived the Lahar and its collateral disasters. I have two pictures of her in the post “Bacolor, Pampanga before 1991” taken on Good Friday of 2005.

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. isobel said,

    April 18, 2007 at 1:04 am

    it feels so far away not only locationwise but timewise- it is just like a good dream now when i reminisce lent in bacolor especially the good friday processions- where is the Dolorosa now of the Malig family? does anyone know?

  12. cousin paz said,

    April 16, 2007 at 2:25 am

    I’ve been missing the processions during Holy Week in Apalit. Wish I could come over on Holy Wednesdays and Good Fridays but it’s just not possible. We have a carroza too which our parish in Mandaluyong includes for the procession.

  13. April 15, 2007 at 9:00 pm


    In Pampanga, the more flowers on a “carroza” [ be they real or artificial ], the richer the family [ sounds logical, doesn’t it? ]. *lolsz!*

    Toto Gonzalez

  14. April 15, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    p.s. Many people are asking why San Fernando carrozas have so many flowers, you could not see the silver below. What’s the explanation behind it?

  15. April 15, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    Bring your santos to San Fernando instead. Haha!

  16. April 14, 2007 at 12:45 pm


    That’s how it should be!!! My family deems Apalit unchic and that is why they do not bother to go.

    Toto Gonzalez

  17. April 14, 2007 at 1:18 am

    That’s sad. In San Fernando, it’s a family affair. Even distant relatives come home to join the carroza.

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