Just got off the bus from Manila this morning when I covered the celebration of Palm Sunday in Laoag City. It was the Aglipay Church which I saw first to hold the mass. I saw all the people bearing the palms, olives, and coconut leaves on their hands. When I moved to the cathedral, I saw many vendors who sell these palm leaves. They braided the leaves to turn it into a nice form. An ordinary one sells 10 pesos while a good one costs 50 pesos. One can also smell the aroma of anis because they incorporate it into the boquet.
Palm Sunday is a feast that commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. He went in riding a donkey. He was there to bring peace as symbolized by the donkey and not wage a war. This is still re-enacted to some places in the country where the Catholic priest rides a horse surrounded by people holding palms.
These palms are blessed after the mass where these are simultaneously swayed upward. Palm branches are also called palaspas or ramus. These are taken home and hung on doorways and windows or infront of the house. This symbolizes that they welcome Jesus Christ into their homes. They also believe that palm leaves can ward off evil spirits.