This is part of the age old tradition of fulfilling a vow of penance or thanksgiving during the Lenten season. In the island of Marinduque, this has become one grand festival called "Moriones Festival", attracting thousands of tourists and overcrowding the narrow streets of the island's small towns.
Sinturyons of QuezonA few are probably aware that this tradition is similarly observed in some towns in the Quezon province (especially those in the Bondoc peninsula). The scale may not be as large as that of the Moriones Festival and not widely promoted as a tourist attraction, but it is observed without fail every year. The locals simply call this tradition "Sinturyon".
A nice lady in one of the local eateries overheard our conversation about the centurion masks and pointed our group to Boyd, one of the town's sinturyon, who gladly showed us several of his family's mask. Its still a week before the Holy Week, enough time to clean the masks and ready the costumes.
"If you want to see really good masks, go and see Herbert Diaz in Brgy, Andres Bonifacio", Boyd suggested. So we did.
The tattoo artist mask maker
It was drizzling when we reached Herbert's workshop in Andres Bonifacio on the outskirts of San Narciso. The road was muddy and our rented tricycle had trouble with the uphill road.
30 years of mask making
A short walk from the town's center is Mang Ramil Allarey's workshop. He has been creating sinturyon masks for close to 30 years already.