DNX TALI-AMBONG | Daring and revolutionary: Negrense artists, officials fuse art and religion for first digital Siete Palabras

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Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Rudy Reveche, Ismael Java, and members of the Bagon cultural network have thought of something daring and revolutionary.

Not armed revolution but a more daring one.

An idea that will break the limitations set by the COVID pandemic for religious celebrations, a celebration of culture and life.

On the digital platform.

Teaser video of Murcia town for the online Siete Paabras on Good Friday. | Video courtesy of Rudy Reveche

For the first time since the Spaniards brought Christianity to the islands, the Siete Palabras or the Seven Last Words of Jesus Christ will be witnessed on an online platform, streamed right into the living rooms of the faithful.

The faithful in this predominantly Roman Catholic country look forward to the Siete Palabras, part of the Pasyon or Passion of Christ, on the latter part of the Season of Lent.

Before the pandemic, religious processions are usually done on Good Friday, a religious ritual that ends on Easter Sunday.

But as quarantine restrictions prevent mass gatherings, the Bagon network and tge Negros Cultural Foundation thought of mounting the digital Siete Palabras through video dramas.

“This is our humble contribution to the twin celebrations of the state and the church this year, the Philippine Quincentennial with the theme “Humanity and Victory” and the 500 Years of Christianity in the Philippines with the theme “Gifted To Give,” the organizers said in a letter to officials.

Teaser video of Kabankalan City for the online Siete Paabras on Good Friday. | Video courtesy of Bagon

The seven towns and cities that would produce the seven videos are the City of Sagay and the Municipality of Calatrava under the Diocese of San Carlos, the Cities of Kabankalan and Himamaylan under the Diocese of Kabankalan and the City of Bago and the Municipalities of Murcia and Valladolid under the Diocese of Bacolod.

“The seven stories, inspired by the seven last words of Christ, will use the iconic sites and cultural practices of the seven localities as backdrop and tap its creative and talented residents as performers and production staff,” the organizers added.

“Set against the current covid-19 pandemic and climate change, the video dramas hope to spark and inspire our faithfuls to emphatize, emulate, support and sustain the various positive responses and platforms that arose out of these troubled times.”

DNX will stream the seven videos on Friday on the DNX News and DNX Lifestyle Facebook pages.

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