I have lived my whole life in Cainta and have loved everything about it... Cainta is the first municipality in the province of Rizal, I oftentimes joke about it as the foot of the mountain and even if it’s a 1.5-hour drive from Manila (2.5 hours in worst traffic) I always say that I’m from Region 4. There were no beaches nor great historical landmarks that can be associated with it, but the town is rich in colorful traditions...
One of the most awaited seasons for the people of Cainta is the Holy Week or the Lenten season. During this time the town transforms into Jesus' time. I know that there are also other places in the country that observes the Lenten tradition and so far I have never seen something as colorful as what the people of Cainta do (hindi naman ako proud db).
The yearly Senakulo was one of the highlights of this season. I recall watching the stage play since time immemorial and according to my lola it was already running even during her time. There are 2 organizations conducting these plays, the Samahang Krus sa Nayon and the Samahang Nazareno. Krus Sa Nayon is located beside the municipal hall and starts at night of Palm Sunday with adam and eve as the opening act. Nazareno on the other hand is located at Ortigas Extension near Brookside Subd. and starts on Holy Monday. All the actors were locals of Cainta, and it was amazing to watch them with all the costumes, stage production and good acting. People flock these stage plays especially for those days where they will portay the good stories in the bible like the dance of Salome, Jesus walking on the water, Judas' suicide, resurrection of Christ. Another thing that the people are waiting for is the Kapitanas. Each baranggay has a representative who will dance and tell the story of Jesus’ resurrection by singing and declaiming, these are young girls who will be chosen by each baranggay. It was a privilege to be chosen (I actually declined despite my talent, haha tigas!) One of my best friends has seen the Senakulo couple of years ago and she has been watching it every year since then.
Pabasa has been part of the Lenten season here in the Philippines and it is not only in Cainta that you can see this but all over the Philippines. Pabasa is where people of the community will be reading the verses in the bible by singing and it usually lasts for 2 days.
Cainta is also known for its head-meeting-the-tail procession during Good Friday which starts at 4pm and ends at around 8pm. This has been my panata or devotion. I have been attending the procession for 10years now and will continue attending it for as long as I can. I remember when there were only few life-size statues in the procession but still almost all the people of Cainta were attending this procession. And as years go on 1 or 2 new life-size images were being added, currently there were 16 images that participated.
It was also in the morning of Good Friday that you will see in the Liwasang Bayan the reenactment of the suffering of Jesus. Carriages with horses, people in costume, life-size cross - you can see all of these, it was like being transported back in time. You can even hear people around you gasping every time that the person who portrays Jesus will be whipped. Also during Good Friday that people of Cainta and of the neighboring municipalities flock to Our Lady Light Parish as one of their Visita Iglesia stops.
And at dawn of Easter Sunday, people gather for a procession going to Our lady of Light Parish grounds for the Salubong – Mary welcoming Jesus back to life.
These have been the traditions that I grew up with. There was no event that I have failed to see or attend (except for the Salubong hindi ako consistent, hirap kaya gumising ng madaling araw galing panonood ng senakulo hehe). You don't need to be a Catholic to experience and enjoy these traditions, appreciating and experiencing things does not require classification. Furthermore regardless of whatever religion we are affiliated with, what is important is that faith, love and respect for family, friends and others grows in our hearts.