Diaspora News

Pabasa ng “Pasyong Mahal” in Los Angeles’ Filipinotown

Bernie Targa-Ganon Photo © http://asianjournal.com

PABASA ng Pasyong Mahal, arguably the centerpiece celebration of the Holy Week by Filipino Catholics, is unfolding on its third year at the historic Filipinotown in downtown Los Angeles.

Bernie Targa-Ganon, president of Philippine Institute of Language, Arts and Culture (PILAC), said the Lenten Week tradition, commonly referred only either as Pabasa or Pasyon, is going to be held at the Manila Terrace at 2328 W Temple St.

“We are inviting everyone to participate in this Lenten Week tradition. It is a unique occasion for Filipino Americans, especially for those who were born and raised here to experience Filipino piety. It is also an occasion to experience the Filipino language, music, food and, most important of all, the warmth of our communal hospitality,” Targa-Genon said.

The two-day Pabasa, which will take place on Holy Thursday and Holy Friday, is supported by the Knights of Rizal-Historic Filipinotown (KOR-HFT), United Bicolandia of Los Angeles (UBLA) and the Manila Terrace (West Lake Community Development Corp. Inc.).

Pabasa ng Pasyong Mahal, which literally means “the reading of the passion of the beloved” (Jesus Christ) is a 500-year-old tradition that dates back during the Spanish colonial rule. It is a Filipino style uninterrupted recitation of a melodic poem about the the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

There are many traditional musical tones, passed down through generations of Filipino Catholics, used as accompaniments to the recitations. But younger generations of Filipinos have also used pop music, ballads and other contemporary hymns during the reading of the Pasyon.

Generally, the tradition involves more of “singing” than recitations. Communal food sharing forms part of this Filipino tradition.

According to historians, the Pasyon’s artistic form — which is in five lines of eight syllables each — was an adaptation of indigenous oral tradition of reciting poems.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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