AROUND 1,000 people witnessed the holding of the “Buhing Kalbaryo” in Cebu City on Good Friday, April 15, 2022.

The Buhing Kalbaryo marked its 25th year in retelling the life and sacrifices of Jesus Christ even after two years that it went on hiatus because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

The program started at the Archdiocesan Shrine of San Nicolas de Tolentino in Barangay Pasil wherein the storyline started with the baptism of Jesus until Pontius Pilate washed his hands and ordered the crucifixion.

The “Way of the Cross” then took place along Vicente Rama Avenue with the 14 Stations of the Cross that concluded at the Espina Compound in Barangay Guadalupe where the crucifixion took place.

According to Elmer “Jojo” Labella, the creative and artistic consultant of this year’s Buhing Kalbaryo, the heavy rains brought by Tropical Depression Agaton had caused a delay in their preparation and prompted the organizers to modify some of the production.

“There were so many things that they wanted to put up but we couldn’t proceed because of the rain,” said Labella, in a mix of Cebuano and English.

Despite the setbacks, Labella said the entire play was a success, attributing it to veteran actors and directors who participated in it.

Mayor Michael Rama, who initiated the first Buhing Kalbaryo in 1997, said this program should remind the public to look up and offer everything to God.

“The reflection really is that faith is really amazing, you just have to believe in him,” Rama added.

Rama was seen walking and joining the Way of the Cross from San Nicolas up to Guadalupe. He said he had been doing this for many years already as an expression of his faith.

Police Major Jonathan dela Cerna, chief of the Guadalupe Police Station, told SunStar Cebu that despite the number of people who gathered to participate in this year’s Buhing Kalbaryo, they were generally cooperative in following the minimum health protocols set by the organizers.

Generally peaceful

Meanwhile, officials of the Cebu Police Provincial Office (CPPO) said they monitored no major incidents conducted during the first few days of the Holy Week since Palm Sunday, April 10, until Good Friday, April 16.

Lt. Col. Engelbert Soriano, CPPO director, said their two-week preparation in ensuring that locals and tourists who will be away in the province for the Holy Week observance paid off.

But Soriano admitted than only a few visitors were left on the island towns, especially in Bantayan Island, where locals and tourists were often present during the Lenten season.

The three towns under Bantayan Island have been busily preparing for the resumption of their religious activities ever since Cebu Province was placed under a less restrictive alert level.

Cebu Province is currently under Alert Level 2.

Soriano attributed this to tropical storm Agaton which affected travel from mainland Cebu to the island towns situated in Bantayan and Camotes islands earlier this week. (IRT , AYB / JKV)