'Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid' will retell the world's greatest story
Over the years since 1975 the “Ang Pagtaltal” (literally, the crucifixion) on Guimaras Island has drawn over 150,000 spectators as it showcases annually the world's greatest story ever told. The “Ang Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid” is a Lenten play every Good Friday which centers on the most controversial historical figure of all time – Jesus Christ. Two thousand years ago Christ died on the cross for the sins of humankind so “everyone may live a full life.”
The biblical account of the life and teachings of Jesus have been the subject of debate and controversy even up to this day. His virgin birth has been told and questioned. His being a Man-God has been preached and doubted. But history attests that He existed. History is chronicled before His birth (B.C.) and after His death (A.D. - Anno Domini).
To us today, His story is one of humility, of healing and of love. He was a God made flesh and born poor. He healed the dumb to speak, the lame to walk, the blind to see and the crippled to be whole again. His death on the cross was a manifestation of God's great love for mankind. He called the unschooled to be His disciples “to shame the wise”. He taught in parables and espoused love for one's enemies. He walked on the water, calmed the storm and did many other great wonder.
During His life He was revered, loved, treated, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, condemned and humiliated as no other man who ever lived and finally crucified. Doubly controversial was his resurrection three days after His death on the cross.
The yearly “Pagtaltal” brings back the ancient story with more pomp and color through biblical costumes. This cultural religious festival will reel-off with scenes of Christ's ministry, arrest, condemnation and crucifixion at the town's “Golgotha” -- the Balaan Bulid landmark of the island province. Over 150 members of the cast support the main characters with Gerardo Anam Robles portraying the role of Christ.
Now on its 34th year, the “Pagtaltal” steadily grown into a major tourist attraction of Jordan town as more agencies get involved.
This activity has been patterned after the world's most prominent passion play performed every ten years by the inhabitants of the village of Oberanmergau in Germany.
Most Rev. Msgr. Sergio Jamoyot, former Jordan Parish Priest quoting the Catholic Encyclopedia, said that the Oberanmergau play has its origin in 1633 during one of the plagues which periodically ravaged Europe. At the time the Oberanmergau elders vowed in the name of entire community to perform the play of the passion and death of our Lord every ten years if God would spare the town. Performed in open air, eight hours are required to enact the complete passion.”
Mayor Cresente P. Chavez Jr., 2009 Pagtaltal Over-all Chairman, disclosed that this year's presentation is being supported by the Municipality of Jordan; provincial government of Guimaras; Department of Tourism Region VI; Ang Pagtaltal sa Balaan Bukid Foundation, Inc.; Lone District of Guimaras; and Parish of St. John the Baptist.
Previous guests to this well-known Lenten festival include ambassadors to the Philippines of West Germany, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica, Nigeria, America, Canada and many others.
A child-friendly town of Jordan boasts of the reputed smallest town plaza in the whole world (Guiness Book of World Records), Trappist Monastery, Shrine of Ave Maria Purisima, Consoler of Immaculate Heart of Mary.
A philantrophist, native of Nueva Valencia and consultant on tourism Henry Geonaga Babiera was the one who initiated the holding of Pagtaltal, crucifixion site at Balaan Bukid, popularly known as the “Golgotha” of Western Visayas.