Bicol, Philippines - Since I was a child, I always look forward to the "Salubong" tradition every Easter Sunday. But my kuya and I were surprised to see the practice for the "Salubong" @ Cagsawa Ruins. As everybody knows, what is left of the church at Cagsawa is only the bell tower when Mayon Volcano erupted in 1814 and spewed lava that covered Cagsawa church and the surrounding areas.
The traditional Salubong is a popular event on Easter Sunday. It is a pre-dawn ritual that re-enacts the Risen Christ's meeting with His mother. It is performed within the churchyard under a specially prepared arch where the veiled image of the Virgin Mary is placed. As soon as the procession nears the church, the bells rang deliriously with joy, announcing the glorious resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ!Then the encounter of the Risen Lord and His Blessed Mother will take place. This is dramatized by the SALUBONG. Little children dressed as angels are slowly lowered by ropes from a high platform and they lift the mourning veil from the grieving Mother Dolorosa and announced to her the resurrection of her dearly beloved Son. The Virgin Mary would then be "Ang Birheng Nagagalak". In other parishes, the angel releases trained doves to snatch away the veil of the Virgin while in others, the angel attaches the veil of the Virgin to balloons to take it far up into the air.
The participants in the procession are segregated by gender. The men and boys follow the image of Jesus Christ, while women and girls follow the image of the Virgin Mary. The procession ends with the two groups meeting in the church, where Mass is said.