Moriones Festival is an annual event held in the entire province of Marinduque during the holy week. Men and women in their province dress up like Roman soldiers as interpreted by the local folks according to the Bible.
The participants of the festival wear morion mask (most are hand-made and very expensive) to portray as Roman soldiers and Syrian mercenaries that are depicted in the story of the Passion of the Christ.
The mask was named after the Morion helmet used during the 16th and 17th century. Today, Moriones refers to the penitents who wear masks and costume who roam around the town for seven days re-enacting the search for Longinus. Saint Longinus is a Roman centurion who was blind in one eye and received a miracle after a blood from Jesus Christ dripped in to his eye making him to see again.
But eventually, he was chased for being a Christian and beheaded so he won’t propagate his faith. That scene can be witnessed in their famous version of Senakulo (Play of Passion of Christ). Because of the Senakulo, I was able to understand how the Moriones Festival got its inspiration of celebrating it and why on the holy week.
Aside from the Senakulo, you can also see the Morions on their procession during the Good Friday together with the life-size saints. The procession begins and ends at their parish church.
There is also the Battle of Morions which happens in Santa Cruz Municipality wherein the Morion representatives of the different towns and municipalities of Marinduque battle it out to be the best. It is where you’ll be able to witness the best Morion mask in their costume and the best in acting role. Unfortunately, we were at the Porta Boyabod at that time because of our duty *sad*.
Other events after also happen in Santa Cruz like the Bikini Open, merry-making and bangka painting contest at the Porta Boyabod. And of course, plenty of people visit the famous and renowned Maniwaya Island.