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Philippines’ Morion Mask Showcased at Masks of the World Exhibit in Kenya

todayMay 23, 2024 2

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On the occasion of the Philippine National Heritage Month and the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (21 May), the Philippine Embassy in Nairobi participated in the “Masks of the World” exhibition at the Nairobi National Museum, organized by the Embassy of Romania in Nairobi and the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO (KNATCOM). 

Officials from the Kenyan Parliament, Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, National Museums of Kenya, and KNATCOM, as well as members of the diplomatic corps and students joined the opening ceremony on 21 May 2024.

The Philippine Embassy showcased a Morion head mask crafted by Mr. Gilbert Monsanto, a local artist from Mogpog town in Marinduque. 

The Morion mask is an important piece of Philippine cultural heritage that is worn during the Moriones Festival, which takes place annually in Marinduque during Holy Week. Participants in the festival wear these masks and reenact the story of Saint Longinus, a Roman centurion who purportedly pierced Jesus Christ’s side during the crucifixion and converted to Christianity after being cured of blindness by Christ’s blood, symbolizing both penance and celebration.

In Mogpog, a Morion mask is traditionally worn with a bulaklakan turban. It is named after the flowers made from various colors of Japanese paper and attached to the headgear. The number of flowers on the turban indicates how many years a person will participate in the Moriones. Each year, they remove a flower from their turban after completing the ritual. Removing the last flower signifies the fulfillment of their vow.

Other masks featured at the exhibition include those from Romania, Thailand, Mexico, and Costa Rica. The exhibition will run from 21 to 26 May 2024.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines.

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