Sayo | Nayong Pilipino Foundation (@atingnayon)


The Solemnity of a procession of veiled and crowned women in flowing black robes chanting prayers is one of the most striking images of religious fervor during the annual observance of the Lenten season in the Philippines.

In San Jose, Camarines Sur, among the participants of processions from Holy Wednesday up to Good Friday are ladies donned in black. Called sayo or sayos (plural), they walk barefoot, with black veils covering their heads.

The penitents wear a long black dress that reaches down to their ankles while a rosary dangles from a white cord from the waist. The veil, locally called manto, is locked in place by payawan, a local vine with medicinal value. Also called makabuhay (Tinospora glabra [Burn. f.] Merr. Family Menispermaceae), it is coiled to look like Jesus Christ’s crown of thorns.

Source: Pinagmulan: Enumeration from the Philippine Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage / Photo by Cecilia V. Picache, 2013

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