SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Subic is not only ready for the crowd of vacationers this summer, but also for throngs of the faithful who are expected to observe the Christian traditions of praying, fasting and reconciling with their Maker during the Lenten season.
According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, the Subic agency, in partnership with various stakeholder groups, has prepared a weeklong religious program, as well as some cultural presentations for the Holy Week.
The Holy Week, according to Christian tradition, is the culmination of the hallowed forty-day period of sacrifice leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Christians observe the 40 days of Lent that begins on Ash Wednesday to replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days.
Eisma said that because of its relative quiet and its peaceful atmosphere, the Subic Bay Freeport has become a favorite spot for religious reflection and meditation.
Subic’s Holy Week presentation starts at 8:30 a.m. on April 14, Palm Sunday, with the re-enactment of the entry of Jesus to Jerusalem and the blessing of palms, locally known as “palaspas.” This will be held at the San Roque Chapel, which was built in the 1800s for Spanish sailors and Filipino converts.
“Pabasa sa Freeport,” which is the chanting of the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ, starts at 9:00 a.m. on Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday also at San Roque Chapel.
On Maundy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper and Washing of the Feet will be held at 5:00 p.m., to be followed by Visita Iglesia at 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 mindnight.
Slarted on Good Friday are the Stations of the Cross, 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, San Roque Chapel; Guided Way of the Cross Meditation, 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Holy Land Subic Sanctuary, which is located at the Tipo area; and Liturgy of the Word and Veneration of the Cross, 3:00 p.m. at San Roque Chapel.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to join the religious procession on Holy Wednesday and the grand procession on Good Friday at 6:00 p.m. Both will go around Subic’s Central Business District and end at the San Roque Chapel.
The grand event that will end the Holy Week here will be the Easter Sunday procession or “Salubong” that will start at 4:00 a.m. on April 21 and proceed along the Manila and Dewey Avenues, pass by the Spanish Gate area, and end at San Roque Chapel.
Meanwhile, SBMA Tourism Department manager Mary Jamelle Camba said that aside from religious activities, the public may also enjoy for free the live musical entertainment program that will start at 7:00 p.m. from April 18 to April 20 at the Boardwalk Event Center.
These musical presentations will showcase the bests of local bands in the Subic Bay area, as well as a gospel healing concert featuring the drama group Centurion’s Servant, the Bethesda Springs of Hope Healing Ministry, as well as singers Julie San Jose, Yael and Karylle Yuzon, and Ku Aquino.
The Holy Mass at 6:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday at San Roque Chapel will be followed by the “Agape Breakfast For All” and the Easter egg hunt for children.
Camba said that in preparation for the expected influx of visitors to Subic, the SBMA Tourism Department has established satellite information offices in four strategic locations in the Freeport to help motorists on their way.
These information centers can be found at the Tipo Toll Plaza, the front of San Roque Chapel, the Total Gas Station in front of Subic Yacht Club, and the Starbucks coffeehouse along Argonaut Hiway.
Camba said these info centers will open from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. during the entire Holy Week and will also be manned by medical personnel with ambulances on stand-by, police officers, and auto mechanics.