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Photographer's Note

This photo was taken inside Bantayan Island's main Catholic church, which was built by an Ilonggo priest named Padre Doroteo Andrada. Construction started in 1839 and completed in 1893. It is considered to be one of the oldest church in the country with walls made of coral stones which are considered to be one of the thickest wall among all stone churches in Cebu. Centuries old life size statue of saints and ancient Spanish time carvings adorn the altar. It also has a tall belfry with resonant bells that can be heard miles away. During ancient times, this was the town's alarm system to warn the populace about the incoming attack from Moro invaders.

One of the two features of the church I find most interesting are its big glass stained windows ... each of the 12 side windows depicting one stage of Christ’s crucifixion. The other is its massive weathered entrance doors made of untreated hard wood ... quite amazing how it has survived the ravages of time. I have posted in the workshop these two features for viewing.

During Easter, thousands of overseas and Filipino tourists travel to the island to enjoy the sun drenched white beaches and witness the Holy Week rites. Most anticipated is the procession of life-size antique religious images mounted on huge, elaborately-decorated carrozas. The priceless images were hand-sculpted by artisans in Spain in the 1800s, then entrusted to prominent families for safekeeping.

Also, while the rest of the Filipino Catholics around the country are obligated to abstain from eating meat during Holy Week, the local folk in Bantayan Island have special exemption from the Pope. As a result of a Papal Indult issued decades ago, Bantayanons were sanctioned by the Church to consume meat, so they can cease fishing in order to take part in religious rites. This loop hole seems to contribute to the general festive mood of the whole island, as compared to the somber and solemn celebrations in other parts of the country. In my experience, the atmosphere is like that of one big 'fiesta'. Beer consumption of this small island during Holy Week tops that of any province in Cebu. Interestingly, our top selling beer is named after a Saint, San Miguel … quite appropriate to drink during the lenten season :)

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Additional Photos by Renier Figuracion (kiwi_explorer) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1834 W: 81 N: 2710] (12209)
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