efe-epaAngono, Philippines

Hundreds of Catholics gathered early Sunday morning to mark Easter Sunday with the "Salubong" celebration in Angono, a small town on the outskirts of the Philippine capital, Manila.

Believers began arriving as early as 3 o'clock this morning to witness the Salubong, which began around sunrise at 5am, an epa journalist reports.

Salubong, a Tagalog word meaning "to welcome" or "to meet", is an annual reenactment of the Biblical account of the Virgin Mary's meeting with the resurrected Jesus Christ.

As part of the procession, the "Kapitana", played this year by Lorraine Escolano, recited a poem in Tagalog, known locally as a "dicho", praising the Virgin Mary and the suffering undertaken by her son, Jesus.

Villagers elect a Kapitana each year, with the role being similar to that of a village chief.

Her duties are mostly religious, and she is expected to remain chaste for the whole year that she fulfills the role.

As her poem recital concluded, the "puso" (Tagalog word meaning "heart"), an elaborate structure symbolizing heaven, was opened, revealing an angel, played this year by young girl Yeng Tolentino.

Tolentino, suspended from the puso, sang a song as she sprinkled confetti over the gathered devotees.

She was then lowered from the puso to remove a black veil from the icon of the Virgin Mary, which symbolizes the end of the mourning period after Christ's death.

The Angono celebration was one of hundreds held across the majority Christian country.

At least 92 percent of the Philippines is Christian, with 81 percent belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.