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.
San Pedro Apostol
San Andres Apostol
Santo Tomas Apostol
San Felipe Apostol
San Simon Apostol
San Bartolome Apostol
San Judas Tadeo Apostol
San Mateo Evangelista
Jesus Triumphantly Enters Jerusalem
Jesus was Baptized by Saint John
Jesus washes the feet of His Apostles
Jesus heals the man born blind
Mary pours Perfume on Jesus at Bethany
Jesus Bids Farewell to His Mother
The Arrest of Jesus
Jesus was sentenced to Death
Jesus was stripped of His Clothing and was offered Vinegar mixed with gall
The Scourging at the Pillar. This is one of the oldest images on display which have been sculpted in 1811
The Crowning with Thorns
Jesus Accepts His Cross
Jesus Meets the Woman of Jerusalem
Jesus is crucified
Jesus Died on the Cross
The next room ~ the Silid ng Paglilibing. Here, they also showed us how the mechanism behind the moving Santa Veronica de Paete works.
San Jose Arimathea
Santa Maria Jacobe
Santa Maria Magdalena
Santa Maria Cleofe
Santa Maria Salome
The moving image of Santa Veronica de Paete
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.
Nuestra Señora de Alegria
The Resurrected Christ
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:
- Caru Caruhan de Malabon Lenten Exhibit (2022)
- Tatlumpung Salaping Pilak : A Lenten Exhibit in Imus Cavite (2022)
- La Dolorosisima: En Su Corazon Lenten Exhibit in Tanza, Cavite (2021)
- San Agustin Museum Lenten Exhibit 2021 (Intramuros, Manila)(2021)
- Misericordia Señor Lenten Exhibit 2021
- Pasion Y Gloria Exhibit (2017)
- Luz de Filipinas: Soledad Lenten Exhibit (2016)
- Soledad Exhibit (2021)