Clinging to faith: Family holds traditional ‘Pabasa’ while in quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — It’s the Holy Week and the Quezon City home of the Fernadezes was jam-packed: relatives from afar arrived to participate in their annual “Pabasa” or the chanting of the Passion of Christ.
But that was last year.
Like the rest of the people living in areas under strict quarantine, the Fernandez family’s way of life has been somewhat altered, including how they observed the Holy Week.
“Dito sa amin kasi, ‘yung mga pinsan ko hindi nakapunta, eh yearly namin tong ginagawa kaya sobrang affected nung quarantine ‘yung [Holy Week],” Jon Ofiaza Fernandez told INQUIRER.net.
(Here in our house, some of my cousins were not able to come even if we’re doing this yearly that’s why the quarantine has really affected the Holy Week.)
Fernandez lamented how they – as one big family – were not able to do their yearly tradition of Visita Iglesia for the Station of the Cross since most churches are closed and mass gatherings are banned under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine.
Nevertheless, Fernandez said, they are bent on defying the limitations of this extraordinary time to express their faith.
Albeit small in numbers, the family pushed through with their “Pabasa”.
“Kami lang pong magpi-pinsan ngayon, hindi lahat. Dati, punong-puno ang bahay namin kapag Pabasa [pero] ngayon, kaunti lang talaga. Apat lang ‘yung nagbabasa o tatlo kasi hindi sila nakapunta,” he added.
(For now, it would just be us and few of my cousins. It used to be that our house would be crowded during Pabasa but now there’s only a few of us. Only four people are doing it or three because many were not able to come here.)
“Itong Pabasa namin, 70 years na po namin ginagawa. Panahon pa ng mga lolo at lola namin kaya parang ang hirap hindi gawin kasi tradisyon ng pamilya kaya kahit papaano gumawa kami ng way para matuloy ang pabasa namin,” Fernandez said.
(We have been doing ‘Pabasa’ for 70 years now. Our family has been doing it since the time of my grandparents so it’s hard not to do it because it’s already a family tradition so we tried to find a way to continue it.)
Similarly, others also found a way to still carry out religious traditions despite staying indoors, taking advantage of the online platform to observe Holy Week.
Ephraim Gaytos, also from Quezon City, said his family would do a virtual Visita Iglesia this year through the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
He said CBCP’s online Visita Iglesia allows one to virtually visit several churches inside and outside Metro Manila.
“We will just do it virtually. We will display it on a larger screen like a television. We will just do our prayers there,” Gaytos told INQUIRER.net in a separate interview.
Regardless of religion, Gaytos believed that Filipinos’ big and strong faith remains in spite of the lifestyle-changing COVID-19 pandemic that continues to threaten the country.
“The religiosity of Filipinos is faith-based. We have strong faith that despite all that is happening right now, there is someone we can lean on. We have someone to believe in. We have faith in one particular God,” Gaytos stressed.
“Even if you are not a Catholic, whatever religion you belong in. That’s how strong our faith is. That is how strong our trust and faith [are] on what we believe in,” he added.
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