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Filipino Lenten traditions featured in Subic’s Holy Week 2010

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, March 31 — In observance of the Holy Week, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in cooperation with business locators in this free port, has lined up week-long activities in keeping with the spirit of the Christian world's most solemn season.

Raul Marcelo, SBMA deputy administrator for business development, said the religious activities would be held back-to-back with the “Cool Summer Specials” program aimed at tourists and vacation-goers.

“Time-honored Lenten traditions have always been observed here at Subic Bay. To cater to visitors of all ages and persuasions, we have also added some contemporary activities as part of the Lenten season,” Marcelo said.

These traditional Lenten rites will include the “Pabasa sa Freeport,” which is the chanting of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ; processions on Holy Wednesday and Good Friday; the Last Supper Mass and Washing of the Apostles' Feet on Maundy Thursday; the Stations of the Cross and the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday; Easter Vigil on Black Saturday and Easter Sunday’s “Salubong.”

After the Last Supper Mass at the San Roque Chapel on Maundy Thursday, violin virtuoso Coke Bolipata and his Pundaquit protégés from Casa San Miguel will stage a candle-lit performance of one of Haydn’s great masterpieces, "Seven Last Words of Christ", consisting of seven orchestral interludes.

Bolipata and the Pundaquit Virtuosi from the art mecca of San Antonio, Zambales, are also scheduled to perform at the same venue on Holy Saturday night.

With the UP Dozen Choir, the group will play Handel's Messiah, an English oratorio that is regarded as one of most popular works in Western choral literature.

On the contemporary side of the Lenten celebration, a special screening of the indie film "Puntod" will also be shown for free at the Subic Bay Boardwalk Park on the evening of Holy Wednesday.

Another contemporary highlight is a free musical healing concert at the Boardwalk Park on Good Friday. This will feature Jose Mari Chan, Karylle, Bea Tantoco, Anna Tirol, Danny Cruz, Yvette Ocampo, Ku Aquino as "Jesus", and the Bethesda Healing Ministry, among others.

Culminating the week-long program is the “Subic Bay Easter Egg Hunt” for children after the morning mass on Sunday. Marcelo said that gifts and other surprises, courtesy of business establishments in the free port, will be given away to lucky egg hunters.

Meanwhile, SBMA tourism manager Portia Zabala said that visitors coming to Subic Bay this Holy Week and the rest of summer can expect “the best facilities and services that Subic could offer.”

“Although you can hardly find a room nowadays, as most of the rooms have already been reserved as early as January, you can be sure of the rated facilities where you can dine, shop and relax while in Subic,” Zabala said.

She added that the SBMA has instituted enhanced security measures to guarantee the safety of visitors in the free port.

For the convenience of visitors and motorists alike, Zabala also said that the SBMA has set up two satellite information offices in the free port in anticipation of the expected increase in visitor arrivals.

Strategically located along Tipo and Rizal Highways, these information centers are complemented by medical personnel and ambulances, police officers, and auto-mechanics. (PNA)

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