AnthropoloGifs – 1: TON-TON AND BALO-BALO IN NABUA

Ton-ton, The Descent, is an Easter Sunday ritual that is celebrated in different varieties in Catholic Philippines. The ton-ton dramatizes the meeting of the risen Christ with his grieving mother. In Nabua, the celebration of Christ’s resurrection comes a day earlier. On the evening of Black Saturday, a time that is supposed to be rife with the quiet anticipation of Christ’s resurrection, balo-balo, which means “rehearsal of the descent,” is held with much vigor. The Easter Angel for 2014 is the only child of a Filipino migrant couple to the US. They came home to Nabua, because, like the other parents of Easter angels, they had entered into a tipan(covenant) with Inang Katipanan (Our Lady of the Covenant). To fulfill a tipan is an act of honor, and in this case, honor intersects with religious belief, and its fulfillment is made possible by the family’s homecoming. The devotion to Inang Katipanan traces its beginnings to the Spanish colonization of the Philippines. The local record cites various volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and Moro pillaging, that happened between 1641 and 1711 in the region. Catholicized Nabua was somehow spared from these tragedies, and thus in 1711, a covenant was made with the believed protector of Nabua: 1) to honor her name; 2) to give alms to the church, and finally; 3) to make known to all the succeeding generations the story of her motherly protective love for her child, Nabua.

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