Travel Thursday on Empty Streets: Moriones Festival

Posted 5:18 AM by Mezhal Ulao in Labels: ,

I had presented a list of Philippine Festivals and Holidays in last week's article and I had a friend that commented that I missed out on a very popular festival known to us as the Moriones Festivals. She was right and this is a very important festival for us and for that I would like to thank my blogger friend Nedekcir. She is a very talented blogger too so I strongly recommend to please check her out and the articles that she has:

Girls Are Made Of Sugar & Spice And Everything Nice
Everything Has A Reason
In My Kitchen
In The Life Of..."MnÄ›"
My Vegetables Garden

With that aside I would like now to present to you the Moriones Festival details:

The Moriones is an annual festival held on Holy Week on the island of Marinduque, Philippines. The "Moriones" are men and women in costumes and masks replicating the garb of biblical Roman soldiers as interpreted by local folks. The Moriones or Moryonan tradition has inspired the creation of other festivals in the Philippines where cultural practices or folk history is turned into street festivals.


The Moriones Festival is known widely as one of the most colorful festivals celebrated on the island of Marinduque and the Philippines. Morion means "mask" or "visor," a part of the medieval Roman armor which covers the face. Moriones, on the other hand, refers to the masked and costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for Longinus. Morions roam the streets in town from Holy Monday to Easter Sunday scaring the kids, or engaging in antics or surprises to draw attention. This is a folk-religious festival that re-enacts the story of Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye. The festival is characterized by colorful Roman costumes, painted masks and helmets, and brightly-colored tunics. The towns of Boac, Gasan, Santa Cruz, Buenavista and Mogpog in the island of Marinduque become one gigantic stage. The observances form part of the Lenten celebrations of Marinduque. The various towns also hold the unique tradition of the pabasa or the recitation of Christ's passion in verse. Then at three o'clock on Good Friday afternoon, the Santo Sepulcro is observed, whereby old women exchange verses based on the Bible as they stand in wake of the dead Christ. One of the highlights of this festival is the Via Crucis. A re-enactment of the suffering of Christ on his way to the calvary. Men inflict suffering upon themselves by whipping their backs, carrying a wooden cross and sometimes even crucifixion. They see this act as their form of atonement for their sins. This weeklong celebration starts on Holy Monday and ends on Easter Sunday.


The term "Moriones" was concocted by the media in the 60s, but local inhabitants have kept the original term, "Moryonan". Many practitioners are farmers and fishermen who engage in this age-old tradition as a vow of penance or thanksgiving. Legend has it that Longinus pierced the side of the crucified Christ. The blood that spurted forth touched his blind eye and fully restored his sight. This miracle converted Longinus to Christianity and earned the ire of his fellow centurions. The re-enactment reaches its climax when Longinus is caught and beheaded.


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.

And to further tantalize you with this upcoming Holy Week Celebration here is a video featuring this festive event:

Free Rice

2 comment(s) to... “Travel Thursday on Empty Streets: Moriones Festival”


Nedekcir said...

Awe, are making me blush. Sorry if I came like a b#$#% about it. My husband called it barbaric however, thank you so much for including my birth Island in the lists.

Empty Streets said...

You are more than welcome dear :) heheh It was really something I shouldn't have missed since it is very special this upcoming holy week.

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