Pupuwa | @atingnayon (Photo by George Uñalivia)

If the men of Gasan, Marinduque have the antipo or the Morionan as their form of penance during Holy Week, the women have the pupuwa or the pagsusunong ng pupuwa, as the ritual is more commonly known in Gasan.

Participants of the ritual wear long black gowns with a crown of pupuwa (leaves) on their heads, which together with a black veil, completely hide their faces. They go barefoot throughout the ritual. The black gown and veil symbolize death; to do the pupuwa is one way of facing one’s mortality.

Pupuwa leaves are used as an herbal plant in Marinduque. The leaves are boiled and then used for bathing by women who have recently given birth. This, according to the locals, restores the health of the mother.

Source: Pinagmulan: Enumeration from the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO-ICHCAP) / Photo by George Uñalivia, NCCA-ICH, Gasan, 2009

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