I arrived at Boac at exactly seven in the morning. I haven’t had anything to eat yet since the previous day’s afternoon snack, so before anything Moriones, it was gonna be breakfast first.
I checked out the assortments of carinderia in the area including a mobile Jollibee (it was on a truck, first time I’ve seen one) and eventually settled on a small hole-in-the-wall near the Boac Plaza. Two longanisa, one lumpiang shanghai, a scrambled egg, a cup of fried rice and an instant coffee later (told you I was really hungry) and the Morions started streaming into the streets of Boac.
The Moriones Festival, or Moryonan as the locals call it, is an annual event held every Holy Week in the province. It started in the town of Mogpog in 1807 by Father Dionisio Santiago, its parish priest and soon spread over the whole of Marinduque.
It reenacts the story of a Roman centurion, St. Longinus, who got cured of his single-eyed blindness after he speared Jesus Christ on the cross. The blood that dripped from the wound touched his blind eye, healing it to seeing. It converted Longinus and led to his beheading after being persecuted by the Romans.
Morions roam the streets of Marinduque from Holy Monday ‘til Easter Sunday on when they finally locate Longinus.
Arriving in groups, the streets were soon overwhelmed by rampaging centurions in full battle regalia. There were also older women in Mary-like costumes and kids in mud and leaves costume. What the kids were supposed to represent, I have no idea, they look more at home in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien than at Moryonan, in my opinion.
The company made rounds along the sidestreets of Boac for about an hour along the beats of drums and the melody of the ensemble before finishing off at the town plaza. It was only Holy Wednesday so the part where Longinus gets captured and beheaded was still not part of the parade.
I’ve heard that these parades often has its band of bloody flagellants too but I wasn’t able to see one that day.
This was the first time I’ve attended a Moriones Festival, and it differs a lot from the usual street festivals of the other regions. There are no choreographed streetdancings here; what they’ve got are muscled, contorted-faced, towering centurions, brandishing spears and heavy shields roaming the roads in search of their converted pal to execute. Quite a grim story for a festival.
Festival Date: Every Holy Week
Address: Boac, Marinduque