Marinduque Crowds of town people dress up as a Roman legionaries and figures
from the Bibles. The festival takes place in Marinduque during Holy Week and
culminates in the re-enactment of the beheading of Longinus. Entire towns are
converted into huge stages as the story of Longinus unfolds.
Participants wear colorful costumes (similar to those worn by Roman Legionaires)
and masks made from paper mache and painted in lively colors. Other even dress
up in the image of various other figures from the Bible.
"Morion" means "mask" or "visior”, refer to the
colorfully garbed and masked soldiers and centurions during Christ's Passion,
a part of Roman armor which covers the face. Morion serves as the focal point
of the Moriones festival and celebrations.
One of the most colorful festivals celebrated in the island of Marinduque is
the Moriones Festival. Moriones, on the other hand, refers to the masked and
costumed penitents who march around the town for seven days searching for Longinus.
This week-long celebration starts on Holy Monday and culminates on Easter Sunday
when the story of Longinus is reenacted in pantomime. This is a folk-religious
festival that re-enacts the story of Longinus, a Roman centurion who was blind
in one eye.
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
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. The Via Crucis is also reenacted and flagellants, known as
antipos, impose suffering upon themselves as a form of atonement. After 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.