Sunday, January 9, 2011

PASUNGAY Festival in San Joaquin

On the 15th day of January, the best breeds of bulls and horses in San Joaquin are brought to the poblacion to take part in one of Iloilo’s most prestigious festivals. The annual horse and bull-fight, called Pahibag (horse fight) Pasungay (bull fight) will be held at the San Joaquin Sports Stadium at morning at 9 onwards.

Pasungay and Pahibag have developed over the years from a dangerously amusing and recreational event to an exciting competition. Spectators' have a good time, full of liveliness and gaiety. Such celebration had helped to fashion an exquisitely charming culture that have won global appreciation. It has been celebrated for the past years as one of the foundations of San Joaquin’s Bayluhay Festival celebration.

It was said that bullfights were already being held in the town as far back as the Spanish era. It was in the 1970s that bull and horse fights were institutionalized and gradually acquired the importance they have today.

Pasungay/ Pahibag features bulls and horses pitted against other bulls and horses and awarded prizes for their skills in overcoming the opponent. The bull and horse fight in the area is way less ferocious than the bull fight that is the beloved sport depicted elsewhere especially in European countries and South America without compromising the realism or thrill of watching the raging bulls and horses. In this event, the animals are not killed or seriously injured.

Bull and horse fighting is legal in San Joaquin because there is no national or state animal protection legislation that prohibits this or any other cruel activity towards animals.

To witness this event, you need to be early at the venue to obtain seats located in the Sports Stadium at the back of the town hall. It is forbidden to enter the grounds or to access the route, except for duly authorized technical personnel of the town or the organizers with visible identification. Spectators can only access the public areas.

In Iloilo, there are no other bullfighting events during the rest of the year. It is only during the week-long celebration of Bayluhay Festival that the general interest for bullfighting and horse-fighting is aroused amongst the fanatics with mass participation in this event.

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