Blind people chant the ‘pasyon’ in Bicol
BLIND persons here organized under the Visually Impaired Voice of Albay (Viva) Inc. will hold its first reading or pabasa of the pasyon or Passion of Christ in the Bicol dialect using braille today and on Good Friday.
Dave Bueno Jr., 28, Viva president, said this is the group’s third pabasa but the first time they would use Bicol.
The 24-hour marathon pabasa starts at 9 a.m. today until 9 a.m. tomorrow at Peñaranda Park in Albay District, said Bueno who became totally blind at 2 years old after suffering from measles.
He said they used to conduct the pabasa in Tagalog but their braille books on pasyon written in Filipino were destroyed in a fire that hit their boarding house in 2011.
The lenten ritual known as pabasa among Catholics in the Philippines is usually done through continuous chanting, singing and reading of the text of the Pasyon, a narrative on the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Bueno said their pasyon in Bicol is their way of “helping people through praying despite our defects.”
He said he learned to read braille, a series of raised dots on a printed material used by the blind to read, while attending a Special Education class at Tabaco South Central Elementary School in Tabaco City in Albay.
Jeffrey Cuela, 31, Viva vice president and head of the reading ritual, said they decided on the pabasa as their contribution to Holy Week’s commemoration to remind the faithful about the sacrifices of Jesus Christ.
Fifteen Viva members will take part in the pabasa.
He said the special braille books for the pabasa costing almost P15,000, were ordered last February from the blind section of the National Library of the Philippines.
“We gave them a typical book used in pabasa in Bicol. Then they printed a braille book for us,” he said.
The book’s Bicol version has the title “Pacion Bicol Kasaysayan kan mahal na pacion ni Jesukristong Kagurangnan ta.”
Cuela said they paid for the braille books using their organization’s own funds and donations from the Legazpi city government and other groups.
Viva has more than 40 members working as massage therapists at Massage Center at Pacific Mall Legazpi.
Bueno said the group, which was organized on April 28, 2008, aims to help every visually impaired Albayano to work and be paid fairly like any other ordinary worker.
He said before their group was formed they used to have employers who did not pay them fairly, which was why they worked to put up a massage center.
Antonio Reyes Jr., head of the Legazpi City Tourism Office, said they will install big speakers or bass for the public pabasa.
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