The woven palm fronds of Palm Sunday are called “palaspas”.   Vendors outside the Catholic churches sell them, and during the Palm Sunday mass the priests bless the palms with holy water.  At a special moment, the palaspas are held high and shaken gently back and forth.  The rustling sound of a forest of palms fills the church.


Palm Sunday in San Agustin


Palaspas – beautifully plaited palm fronds – are an important part of the Palm Sunday Mass. They commemorate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The priest blesses the palaspas during the Mass. The faithful raise the fronds and wave them back and forth, a forest of palm leaves greeting Easter Week.

This is a special moment and one missing from Protestant services, so on Palm Sunday Lina loves to go to Mass.  I have accompanied her three times:  in 2010 in her home town, Silang; last year in San Agustin on the island of Tablas; and this year in Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan.  The photos here come from those three years.  I will post a video of the shaking forest of palms on my Facebook page.

Making palaspas

Making palaspas:  Silang, 2010


Boy weaving palaspas

Boy weaving palaspas in Silang:  2010

Palaspas in Silang

Palaspas for sale:  Silang, 2010

Lina with palaspas

Lina with palaspas:  Silang, 2010

Tablas Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday in San Agustin:  2016

Elaborate palaspas

San Augustin:  2016

Closeup of palaspas

Closeup of palaspas:  San Augstin, 2016



A thicket of Palaspas:  Puerto Princesa, 2017


The cross

Palaspas Heart

A heart

Forest of Palaspas

Boys leaving the church through the forest of palaspas