More than crosses and wounds

Text and photos by: Dax Simbol

The Magdarame walk past a residence with barbed-wire fence in the village of Talaga in Capas, Tarlac. Photo by: Dax Simbol

The Magdarame walk past a residence with barbed-wire fence in the village of Talaga in Capas, Tarlac. Photo by: Dax Simbol

For the past five years, during Good Fridays, I have followed a group of women in the little known village of Talaga in Capas, Tarlac. They are the Magdarame, mourners or sympathizers of penitents who walk barefoot, clad in all black or sometimes in the traditional maroon Nazareno-like outfits, behind penitents and flagellants.

It is a welcome break from the usual cross-bearing and bloodied penitents usually seen on the streets.

A young Magdarame stares at other women penitents before they start the walk toward the village chapel. Photo by: Dax Simbol

A young Magdarame stares at other women penitents before they start the walk toward the village chapel. Photo by: Dax Simbol

No one can seem to remember the exact date when the women’s tradition started. They begin late in the morning, gathering in someone’s front yard, a kilometer or so from the village chapel, where they first pray the rosary. Then group assembles with a couple of male cross-bearing penitents in front. They walk barefoot in the blistering cement, stopping each time the penitents would take a breather.

The Magdarame of Capas, Tarlac, are joined by young children, the girls in particular, who would continue the tradition when their parents or aunts could no longer endure the custom. Photo by: Dax Simbol

The Magdarame of Capas, Tarlac, are joined by young children, the girls in particular, who would continue the tradition when their parents or aunts could no longer endure the custom. Photo by: Dax Simbol

On barefoot, the women penitents are joined by young ones before they begin their walk. Initially the group kneels to pray the rosary. As they pray the first mystery of the rosary, the group starts their walk with the male penitents in front. Photo by: Dax Simbol

On barefoot, the women penitents are joined by young ones before they begin their walk. Initially the group kneels to pray the rosary. As they pray the first mystery of the rosary, the group starts their walk with the male penitents in front. Photo by: Dax Simbol

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