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Easter in the Philippines

The heat has been turned up in the last few days. We really are into summer here now - which means there are plenty of mangoes! There's nothing quite like a Philippine mango!

For us, summer time means it's Easter time. Easter is generally a very religious time here in the Philippines, especially in the Catholic Church - and around 85% of Filipinos are Catholic. Most people leave the city to visit their families in the provinces to celebrate together.

Last night our town, Baliuag, had a huge procession of 112 floats depicting Christ's life and death. Many were highly ornate, they were all lit up, and were accompanied by various songs and prayers. The floats were taken up and down the streets of the town, followed by a procession of devotees with candles behind each float. The men were at the front, pulling the floats and pushing the generators for the lights! Stores were closed and owners sat outside with their families to watch or join in. Everyone from grandparents to babies watched in respect. It's certainly a way to get a message across!

There are other Easter traditions here as well. Tomorrow is Good Friday, which is followed here by Black Saturday. The roads go quiet that day. Why? It's believed that, because Jesus has died, if you have an accident no-one will hear your prayers! But on Easter Sunday morning, at the Anglican cathedral in Manila, the congregation knock on the church door which has been closed. The church is opened, the lights turned on and the covers taken off. Everyone enters in. Christ is risen.