Lilok At Panata: A Traditional Lenten Exhibit in Paete Showcasing Their Devotion and Craftsmanship

The town of Paete in Laguna is known for its wood carving industry, particularly the carving of “poon” or images of saints. The name of the town itself is derived from the Tagalog word “paet” which means chisel, the primary tool for carving. Interestingly, the 3-century old Paete Church (dedicated under the patronage of Saint James the great) is also known for their annual Holy Week celebration. The town has a traditional Senakulo or Passion play where people/actors reenacts the events depicting the passion of Jesus, His trials, suffering, and death.

One of the distinct events in Paete during the Holy Week is their “Salubong” which is considered to be the most dramatic and spectacular Pre-Easter Salúbong in the Philippines. There are actually two separate Pre-Easter Salúbong in Paete. The first is done by the Catholics every Holy Wednesday, while the second is celebrated every Holy Thursday by the Aglipayans. The Paete Salúbong is made dramatic by the use of dialogues chanted in lugubrious and doleful wailing tune. The event is also accompanied by “moving saints”. These are life-like statues with movable joints at the neck and arms to allow them to emote along with the impassioned chanting of their dialogues.

The Salubong has three parts; The first one is the “Encuentro” where sorrowful Mary (Mater Dolorosa) meets her son Jesus Christ; Second is when Veronica meets Jesus on His way to the Calvary where she wipes Jesus’ face with cloth; The third part is where Mary meets Veronica. One of the highlights of this event is the town’s very own “Santa Veronica” and “Mater Dolorosa”, the two moving saints which have been sculpted in 1882. Another traditional event in Paete during Lent is their annual Lenten exhibit that showcases the town’s impressive craftsmanship.

The so-called Lilok at Panata is an annual exhibit of different life-sized processional images  which has been a practice since 1998. It is considered to be the first Parochial Lenten Exhibit in the Philippines where more than 50 life-size Holy week images (most of which are more than century old). The exhibit will not just provide a solemn representation of the Passion of Christ but will also highlight impressive artistry of Paeteños.

During our pilgrimage in Laguna last weekend, we were lucky enough to witness these masterpieces. The exhibit is divided into three rooms. The first rooms highlights the Passion of the Christ and His trials which includes the life-sized images of his Apostles and other events that occurred during His way to the Calvary. The Second room is called “Silid ng Paglilibing” which highlights the Santo Entierro as well as moving saint Santa Veronica. The third room is the Silid ng Pagkabuhay showing the Resurrected Christ and the Nuestra Señora dela Alegria (Our Lady of Joy). We were also accompanied by a guide who explained everything to us as we explore each room.

Here are some of the images from Lilok at Panata: Lenten Exhibit in Paete, Laguna.
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San Pedro Apostol
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San Andres Apostol
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Santo Tomas Apostol
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San Felipe Apostol
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San Simon Apostol
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San Bartolome Apostol
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San Judas Tadeo Apostol
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San Mateo Evangelista
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Jesus Triumphantly Enters Jerusalem
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Jesus was Baptized by Saint John
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Jesus washes the feet of His Apostles
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Jesus heals the man born blind
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Mary pours Perfume on Jesus at Bethany
2022-03-30_02-03-36Jesus Bids Farewell to His Mother
2022-03-30_02-37-46 The Arrest of Jesus
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Jesus was sentenced to Death
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2022-03-30_01-35-22Jesus was stripped of His Clothing and was offered Vinegar mixed with gall
2022-03-30_12-36-53The Scourging at the Pillar. This is one of the oldest images on display which have been sculpted in 1811
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The Crowning with Thorns
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Jesus Accepts His Cross
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Jesus Meets the Woman of Jerusalem
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Jesus is crucified
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Jesus Died on the Cross
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La Pieta
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The next room ~ the Silid ng Paglilibing. Here, they also showed us how the mechanism behind the moving Santa Veronica de Paete works.
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San Jose Arimathea
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Santa Maria Jacobe
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Santa Maria Magdalena
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Mater Dolorosa
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Santa Maria Cleofe
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Santa Maria Salome
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San Nicodemo
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The moving image of Santa Veronica de Paete
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Santo Entierro
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The last room is about Christ’s Resurrection. It welcomes you with a ceiling filled with rejoicing angels. These are “taka” or paper mache crafts that are also known in Paete.
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Nuestra Señora de Alegria
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The Resurrected Christ
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You can also spot an old Crucifix in this hall. The church of Paete is known for many old images including the famous murals of San Cristobal and the”Langit, Lupa, Impyerno” which you can read here.

The Lilok at Panata Lenten Exhibit officially opened on March 20 and will run till April 8, 2022

You can also revisit these previous Lenten exhibits:

Sources of Info: Paete.gov.ph / ABS-CBN News/ Theodula and Popular Religiosity /

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