Showing posts with label Magalang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magalang. Show all posts

Friday, April 02, 2010

Pampanga: Holy Week flagellation and penitents in Magalang, Pampanga

Pampanga is a hotbed for Holy Week flagellation and Lenten penitents. In Magalang, Pampanga, the barangay of San Agustin is where a lot of these Lenten penitents appear every Holy Thursday and especially Good Friday.

On the way to San Agustin, we chanced upon a group of flagellants preparing for their annual panata. There are actually four basic kinds of penitents or magdarame in Pampanga. The first would be the flagellants or the mamalaspas, those who flog themselves. The second would be the mamusan krus or those who carry crosses. Then there are the magsalibatbat or penitents who crawl on the ground. While the kristos are those who have themselves nailed to the cross every Good Friday.

There are also rituals in preparation for the Lenten penance. They first dress up and are tied up in ropes. Then the flagellants whip themselves or are whipped by a companion until their back muscles swell. This is to numb the pain and speed up the bleeding when incisions are made on his back with a razor blade or broken glass embedded on a small wooden paddle.

Then they walk around town whipping themselves, passing by "holy" places such as churches and the puni (makeshift tents where the pabasa is read). We saw the entire preparation of the group, including the mandatory shots of Red Horse.

Until now, why they do it is a mystery. I was quite surprised to see that the group was actually composed of middle-class Kapampangans. One of the mamusan krus even had braces and was wearing Havaianas! It's something the Center for Kapampangan Studies will try to study in the next few months.

In San Agustin, the mamusan krus carry large banana trunks shaped into a cross. And you could see the penitents collapse from sheer exhaustion since the banana stalks are obviously very heavy. I remember seeing magsalibatbat here before but since it was already sunset, I figured they were already back home resting for Good Friday.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pampanga: Hiking in Mt. Arayat

Mount Arayat towers over Pampanga. And you definitely cannot miss it since it's the only mountain you'll see in the plains of Pampanga as you drive along the NLEX. Ever thought of climbing it? Well, there are two ways to get up. The first is via the Mt. Arayat National Park in Arayat, Pampanga. While the second is via the town of Magalang, near the Pampanga Agricultural College.

This mystic mountain has always been an important symbol in Kapampangan folklore being the home of Aring Sinukwan, the legendary deity of the ancient Kapampangans. There is also a thriving Rizalista community in the Arayat side. I was able to visit their shrine several years back.

We did an ocular inspection of Abe's Farm last Sunday in preparation for our tour next week. And we decided to hike up Mt. Arayat. Since we arrived late, reaching the summit was out of the question. So we had to settle for a resting area called 7-11, an hour away from the jump-off point. It's called 7-11 because there is a convenience store there.

From there, you could see the famous White Rock, a rock formation seen from afar and which is more defined during the summer months when the plant growth dries up exposing it completely. You also have a view of Pampanga but not as spectacular as from the summit where you'll be afforded views of the Pampanga River meandering towards Manila Bay.

For the Magalang side, you can arrange for guides with the Pampanga Agricultural College or Abe's Farm. They charge PHP1,000 per guide and they usually come in pairs, one in front and one at the end. But you can try negotiating with them too.

Related posts
An afternoon in Abe's Farm

Up, up and away in Pampanga

Rio Grande de Pampanga
Wandering around the Candaba Bird Sanctuary

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Pampanga: Up, up and away in Pampanga!

After the success of the Ultimate Kapampangan Show-off, we now bring you our second tour offering: Up, Up and Away!!! Huffing, Puffing and Pumping in Pampanga on Sunday, 10 February 2008.

Really, another way to pump up your boring weekend and get your spirits soaring as we conquer the high and mighty in Pampanga! Gawk at the giant hot air balloons at 12th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta! Conquer and hike up the mystic and majestic Mount Arayat! Finally, we'll rest our weary feet over a sumptuous Kapampangan feast by one the country's most artistic restaurateurs, while soothing the afternoon away at a rustic, relaxing retreat! A feast for the body, mind and soul.

This tour leaves Makati at 3 a.m. and includes the 12th Philippine International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, breakfast at the VFW Outpost, a five-hour hike up mystic and majestic Mount Arayat (optional), lunch at Abe's Farm owned by Larry Cruz of Cafe Adriatico, a massage at Nurture Spa Pampanga plus more surprises. Package price for the day-trip is PHP4,800 all inclusive.

Overnight Package
Go the extra mile by taking our overnight package from 9 to 10 February. We leave Manila at 2 p.m. and as the sun sets, you'll get to watch the colorful hot air balloons illuminate like giant light bulbs during the night glow. If you choose the overnight package, you won't miss out on the dinner we planned for you. We'll be hosted by Chef Cris Locher at C' Italian Dining, one of the Philippines' best Italian restaurants. We'll spend midnight at the Oasis Hotel, Angeles City's serene garden hotel. For bookings or more information, e-mail me at

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Pampanga: An afternoon in Abe's Farm

I trooped to Pampanga today to attend a party hosted by Larry Cruz (he's the man behind Cafe Adriatico, Cafe Havana, Bollywood and Abe Restaurant among others) in Abe's Farm, an emerging resort at the foothills of Mount Arayat. I tagged along my SSEAYP batchmate Noby who is celebrating his birthday today.

As expected, the food was fantastic, the best of LJC!!! There was just so much food from the menu of his different restaurants, I wasn't able to taste every dish served on the buffet table.

Nurture Spa is also opening a branch in Abe's Farm and there was a special rate for everyone today, P500 for all treatments, one day only! That included massages, foot spa and facials. Sorry guys but they'll be regular price beginning tomorrow.

I finally got my hilot spa treatment. This spa features massages such as "Seseng-Ima," a Kapampangan-inspired massage, "Aruga," "Payapa," and the "Hilot Kagalingan" which was done as I described in an earlier post, with coconut oil and warm banana leaves.

Of course, we met some VIPs and I told Noby he was lucky to meet Senate President Manny Villar (right) among many others. We were back in Manila after three hours in traffic. Will someone please tell the NLEX to speed up their repair works in Balintawak. It's stressful and draining to drive in that area! Anyway, more photos of this fantastic place in Multiply.
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