Phil. Daily Inquirer Sunday, April 13, 2003.
For the past 50 years, the image of Jesus Christ falling for the third time as He Carried His cross to Mount Calvary, has allowed the family to return to God the blessings it has received and to atone for sins.
The image of Christ suffering from intense pain, fatigue and hunger has become a source of strength and inspiration. He showed, that despite being the Son of God, He allowed Himself to be humiliated and mocked.
It all started in 1952 when the family patriarch, the late Jesus, decided that an offer of penance through prayers and “work” every Holy Week should be imposed. He wanted to return to God the blessings the family received that allowed it to have a good and comfortable life.
The Rebustillos acquired a float depicting Christ’s third fall on His way to be nailed to the cross. For the past 50 years, the float had given the Rebustillos family the strength to overcome the difficulties they encountered. The family prepared the float each Holy Week, not allowing even a death in the family to divert them from their commitment.
Over the years’ the float’s 3 images had become almost members of the family and treated with utmost care.
Dehlia, the family matriarch who did not raise any objections to her husband’s decision five decades ago, carries on the tradition.
The Rebustillos couple contracted the late Castro Vibar, known for his life-size images—Christ in a prone position carrying a cross with His head inclined upwards, a person helping Him support the heavy burden, and a Roman centurion.
Preparation of the caro immediately started, with even the little boys Jim and Johnnie, then 4 and 2 years old, helping. Dehlia said it was during the procession that the family and friends felt the offer of penance truthfully. The float stayed in Balintawak with her parents for two years after. It returned to Albay for good in mid-1954.
With the children all grown up (two more came after the float was acquired, Jesse and Dehna), the work of caring for the images during Holy Week was divided among them.
After 50 years, even grandchildren have started to help. The family has also received help from many people the past five decades.