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Published: January 11th 2010
Gasang Gasang Festival. This is an Easter Sunday Festival held in Gasan town where the only commercial airport in Marinduque is located. This blogger was invited by the town's lady mayor in 2002 to help conceptualize a new daytime Easter festival for Gasan as it competed with the other towns in terms of attracting visitors during the Holy Week celebration. The Marinduque towns of Mogpog, Boac and Gasan draw the most tourists because of the unique Lenten rituals and practices observed here.
Gasan prides itself as the cultural nerve-center of Marinduque with good reason. It was in Gasan where the moriones tradition was discovered by local journalists in the 1960s. Prior to this there was no other account of any Philipine festival that is charaterized by the use of masks. Menfolk of the towns of Mogpog (where the tradition originated), Boac and Gasan don wooden masks during the Holy Week with attires similar to those worn by Roman soldiers.
On the streets they engage in mock enactment of the role played by Longinus and the Roman soldiers in the life of Jesus Christ. Longinus was the blind soldier who gave Christ the coup de grace when he pierced the
Crucified Christ with a spear. Blood and water according to the legend gushed from His side and cured the blind Longinus of his ailment. He renounced his role as a soldier and preached the miracle of Christ. This caused his head to be cut off as punishment from the empire.
While the moriones practice continue to be popular, the bigger community population also welcomed an activity that they could take part in. Thus, the Gasang-Gasang Festival. Participants neeed not wear masks this time, but are required to wear headgear and costumes inspired by the moriones. Barangay contingents come in strong with costumes that make used of indigenous materials, with choreographed dancing in the streets.
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