Sunday, April 08, 2012

Biyernes Santo

A peek at the Good Friday procession, or libot, in my hometown. It's been many years since I've seen the libot, much less participated, because we're not always home during Holy Week, and when we are, the libot does not pass by where we usually stay. 

Last Friday we went to some relatives' house that was along the route of the libot and planned to just stay as it passed by. I had wanted to go to the town plaza earlier to watch some people performing penitential rites, but the husband thought it would terrorize the kids so we just waited for the libot. When it came I was surprised that my older kids needed no convincing in joining their lola, and stepped right into the procession.

It was a pretty organized, and somewhat quiet, affair. I seem to remember Biyernes Santo libot of past as full of din from the banda or band accompanying it, plus singing and the novenas being said by various religious groups over megaphones, and the noise from teenagers chatting and laughing as they wound around the poblacion. I also remember that the Santo Bangkay in its carroza rumbled on its way like thunder, with a mass of men old and young pressing around it, delaying its progress back to the church.

This year it was very low-key, and started early due to forecasted rain that didn't fall anyway. There was only a single line of men around the carroza. Young people mostly made the thin crowd, who walked fast, and so even before twilight the procession had arrived back to the church.

That made the libot lose a bit of its mystique for me. The Biyernes Santo libot of my childhood until my teen years always culminated in the dark, and we always brought candles - inserted with a carton cut-out along the center of its length to catch the melting wax - that we lighted half-way through the procession. And each house along the procession's route had a pair of lighted candles in front. The libot was noisy,  but we were quiet, intermittently breaking our self-imposed silences when uttering the responses to the novena.         

My citified children embarrassed their lola by frequently complaining out loud why the procession took a long way around the church. They forgot their distress, however, upon arriving at the church grounds, where local treats being grilled were enveloping the air with the scent of burnt banana leaves.  

They were promptly rewarded with thin discs of bibingka made from real galapong - ground rice slightly sweetened with brown sugar which made the kakanin look pasty, but a little water, some gata and a leavener rendered it light and soft. No eggs, and the top was smeared with margarine upon purchase. The crumb was grainy, the whole thing redolent with the banana leaf liner it was cooked in. It was as rustic as any provincial treat could be. And the kids loved it, looking forward to having the treats again on Easter.

The intemtem were plump and moist, not so sweet, the buko not wanting. The smell of grilling intemtem is an indelible part of my childhood memories of cold dawns and misty mornings, and it was just fitting that intemtem would also greet us after the Abet-Abet, or the Pangasinan version of Salubong, for Easter.

Related Posts
Rooster for Easter
Easter Flowers


flipster said...

Happy Easter to you Kai and your clan.

Kai said...

Happy Easter, too, to you and yours, Flipster!

dr magsasaka said...

Is intemtem the same as tinupig?

Kai said...

Yes, Dr. Magsasaka, intemtem is the same as tupig or tinupig. Intemtem is the term in the Pangasinan language, while tupig is its equivalent in Ilocano.

dr magsasaka said...


Anonymous said...

the only time i ever saw a marching band playing on the street live, i was on the second floor of our ancestral house in san carlos. it was day of the fiesta, i think, and the brass instruments and uniforms were impressive and exciting for a young boy. it was a long procession, but the band is what stuck in my mind.


Kai said...

Ah! I'm sure that marching band was mighty impressive. When I was growing up the drum and bugle corps from the Virgen Milagrosa University based in San Carlos City was the unbeaten national champion for many, many years, and every time I heard and saw them (they had choreography while playing!), my heart soared. They were always invited over in my hometown for fiestas, too, and I never failed to go to the town auditorium to watch their sets after the parada. Wistful memories. ;-)