The Moriones Festival of Marinduque
Marinduque is of touristic importance mainly because of the Moriones Festival in honor of the Roman soldier Longinus in Boac, Gasan and Mogpog.
The name Moriones is derived from the Spanish word 'Morion' meaning mask or helmet. The Spanish conquistadores were wearing Moriones. The origin of the festival is traced to Mogpog and the year 1807 when the parish priest of said town, Fr. Dionisio Santiago, organized it for the first time. (While the accuracy of the date has not been definitely established, most Marinduqueños agree that the Moriones festival originated in Mogpog in a time this municipality was still under the administration of Boac.)
Acting participants in the festival are almost exclusively men. And as is the case with Good Friday crucifixions elsewhere in the Philippines, to participate in a leading role is usually based on a religious vow. To participate is considered a penance because of the heat the participants must endure under the heavy wooden masks and in their costumes.
The festival lasts from 'Holy Monday' (in Philippine terminology the Monday before Easter Sunday) until Easter Sunday. During the week men wearing masks disguising them as Roman soldiers mock-terrorize the town folks, frightening the children and playing all sort of pranks. Only on Easter Sunday, the one-eyed character of Longinus comes into the play which is an adult version of hide-and-seek. The role of Longinus, whose mask is easily distinguished from all others, is to avoid the other characters in the spectacle by hiding and escaping whenever 'Roman soldiers' come near him.
When Longinus is discovered, a wild chase begins through streets, houses, fields and rivers. Eventually, Longinus is caught and carried to a kind of court where the 'Roman procurator' Pilate and the Pharisees await him. He is made to kneel, sentenced and 'beheaded'.
The beheading in this case is of course only a mock-execution, though this author wouldn't be surprised if sooner or later, a religious fanatic should sacrifice his life in some reenactment of a biblical episode. Religiously motivated suicides have happened in the Philippines time and again. And each year on Good Friday, hundreds of Catholic fanatics voluntary agree to be whipped by co-actors when re-enacting Jesus' way to Golgotha. This is already a bloody affair; but as if this would not be enough authenticity, there are a number of Filipinos who really and truly have themselves nailed to a cross each Good Friday. (For an eyewitness account, please see the entries, appropriately found in the chapter Entertainment.)
The Moriones spectacle has so far not become quite as deadly serious as the crucifixions, though in the current neo-medieval age of religious revival, especially in Islamic countries but in the Catholic world primarily in the Philippines, it cannot be ruled out as impossible that some fanatic would even be willing to sacrifice his/her live during a re-enactment in order to become a self-styled modern day martyr.
The following is a quote from a brochure published by the local government, either of the town of Boac or Marinduque Province (details not indicated), to inform tourists about the Moriones Festival. The quote recounts the story of the Roman soldier Longinus, in whose honor the festival is held.
The excerpt is purposely left uncorrected as thereby it does not only give information on the historical personality of the Roman soldier Longinus (for which there are no neutral sources) but also captures the reverence the people of Marinduque feel for their adopted hero: "The story of Longinus, the Roman Centurions who's conversion to Christianity is recorded in the Gospel, has been beautifully woven into the fabric of Marinduqueños cultural tapestry giving it color, exoticness and artistry. The account of Longinus finds itself historically linked with the story of Christ's cruxifixion. The Gospel finding no fault with fearing the wrath of Public opinion, eventually issued the death sentence. The judgement was given in spite of the strong admonitions of Pilate's wife, Claudia Procula, who in a dream was foretold of Jesus innocence and holiness."
"And for three hours that Jesus lay in agony on the Cross, Roman soldiers kept watch, jeering and mocking the crucified Christ. After those hours, the Roman Guards still were not very certain that Jesus was really dead. To erase such doubts, Longinus acted immediately and sent his sharp spear to the side of Jesus , piercing and wounding it deeply. Truly Jesus was dead, but from His wounded side burst forth blood and water, spurts of which hit Longinus blind eyes. This was the moment of Truth and Enlightenment! For Longinus, this was the dawn of a new Life! He pondered deeply on these thoughts. Could it be that He is really the Son of GOD. He could feel some stirrings in his soul, pulsating, growing stronger, disturbing his otherwise complacement and self-confident nature."
"He was in this strange predicament when the third day of Jesus crucifixion and death, a much greater drama unfolded before his eyes. The Gospel also reads that Jesus was permitted to be buried in a garden lot own by Joseph of Arimathea. However, Pilate, with the advice and concurrence of the Chief Scribes and Pharisces, ordered the guarding of the tomb for they feared and the disciples might steel and hide Jesus body and then proclaimed His as having risen from the dead."
"Headed by Longinus, the Roman centurions religiously stood watch over the tomb. Suddenly, the earth began to tremble. Flashes of blinding light accompanied by a strange noise and rumble, made the Roman soldiers dazed and spellbound. Beholding Jesus rising from his tomb in all His resplendent glory, and majesty, the soldiers feel unconcious to the ground. This the real turning point for Longinus."
"Fully strenghthened in his conviction that Christ is truly the Son of GOD, Longinus, adamantly refused to be threathened of scribes of Pilate to cover up quiet about Christ's resurrection. With renewed strength, he departed on his way, proclaiming and praising the glory of Christ and His Resurrection. Pilates wrath knew no bounds. In consultation with his council of scribes and pharises, he ordered the arrest of Longinus was able to escape from the soldiers, but ultimately he voluntarily surrendered and give himself up for execution at the gallows. Longinus died for Christ's sake, truly penitent, faithful and devoted convert."
The above quoted text may be full of syntax and spelling errors, and even regarding the content, the version published by the local authorities doesn't fully agree with the Catholic dogma. However, a well-founded historical account, would provide less, not more information on the Moriones Festival, because what is celebrated it is not the historical figure of Longinus, but Longinus as perceived in a supernatural world of gods, holy spirits and miracles.
Even a grammatically corrected version would be less not more informative. The above description of the adopted local hero could be given by any participant in the festival, and with all the syntax errors it truly mirrors the sometimes confusing religious believes of an ordinary Filipino. The Western visitor whose religious believes are likely to be more sophisticated than what is reflected in the quoted text, can nevertheless enjoy the Moriones spectacle as something truly native, last not least because it has remained naïve.
In Philippine history, the island only played a role in 1646 when it was the site of a battle between the Spanish and an attacking Dutch force. The Spanish won. Since then and up to today, military events have spared the island and its population as even the NPA has not opened a front there.
Among the better known personalities of the province is Dr. Fe Del Mundo (born on Marinduque 1907). She finished a course in medicine at the University of the Philippines in 1933, made her graduate studies in pediatrics at Harvard, was trained at New York's Mt. Sinai hospital and was a resident physician of Chicago Hospital. She returned to the Philippines following WW II and invented an incubator and a jaundice relieving device.
Sildenafil citrate doesn't produce the same results in all men. This is the case because for cyclic GMP to do its job in the first place, there have to be specific receptors.