Friday, March 4, 2011

Celebrating 13 years of Skin Stories for PINTADOS DE PASI Festival

The Pintados de Pasi Festival is a celebration with its own unique flavor. It foretells Passi’s pre-Spanish history from battles, epics and folk religion. It displays the rich cultural heritage of the city, incorporating tribal music and dances. It prides itself in offering an open, friendly environment filled with artistic, creative energy.

The most anticipated feature of the festival is the tribal dance competition where the streets of the city is filled with body-painted dancers in patterns looking a lot like tattooed warriors of old. Guests get a glimpse of the history of the people that once lived on the islands of Panay so long ago.

Tattoo has a long history in the Philippines. For centuries, tattoos had adorned the bodies of aboriginal groups. Majority of what we know today about this ancient art has been passed down through legends, songs, rituals and ceremonies.

Spaniards came to central Panay and found in the area heavily tattooed men and women, whom they called Pintados. The name Pintados is derived from what the native warriors, whose bodies were adorned with tattoos, they had a culture of their own, commemorating victories by holding festivals and honoring their gods after a bountiful harvest.



Tattooing has been practiced in our culture for centuries and is done as a form of celebration, a means of self expression and membership to a group. People used tattoos to mark the various ranks and status within their group. In fact, groups had unique designs. Thus, it was possible to identify a person's origins based on their tattoos.

Tattooing, its role, patterns and techniques have continued to exist for many centuries. Most of these aboriginal groups had similar traditions. While some had a strong tradition of tattoo in the past, the presence of Spanish missionaries in the country completely extinguished the art.

Tattooing is done by a highly-skilled and trained male member of the tribe who is more knowledgeable in both literal and figurative meanings of patterns, position, and associated responsibilities. It was said that a tattooed young man is more attractive to women because he had shown his dedication and bravery. The tattoos of women were less extensive being limited to the hand, arms, feet, ears and lips.

Common patterns were of linear, circular and geometric motifs. Each of the geometric designs, including lines and circles had multiple meanings based on placement on the body, incorporation with other designs, and the person being tattooed. The most extensive were applied to the men. However, the women did share in the art as well.

Tattoos are still applied today just as they were centuries back. The Pintados de Pasi Festival serves as the last bastion of an unbroken tradition of tattooing in Panay. The festival keeps the focus on creativity — without leaving behind the character at the root of tattoo traditions.


On its 13th year, Passi City is inviting everyone to witness once again their annual celebration of Pintados de Pasi Festival that will open on March 14, 2011, a Monday, with a 6.30 a.m. Mass at Parish of Saint William; 8:00 a.m. with the Opening Program and Opening Salvo; 1:00 p.m. for the Battle of the Mini-Sound; 6:30 p.m. is the Opening Food Festival with Live Band; and at 7:00 p.m. with Miss LGU “KUNO” on its 7th year sponsored by Passi City Government Employees Association. March 15, a Tuesday, at 7:00 p.m. highlights the day with the Talents Night for the annual Search for Bb. Pintados; March 16, a Wednesday at 7 p.m. is the Pinta Lawas of Ginoong Pintados; March 17, a Thursday, is the Pintados de Pasi Cultural Contest; March 18, a Friday, at 7:00 a.m. is the Karosa Parada and Carabao Painting Contest, at 7:00 p.m. is the Grand Coronation Pageant for the Search for Bb. Pintados; March 19, a Saturday at 7:00 a.m. is the Sinadya sa Suba at the Jalaur River near the Passi City Bus Terminal; at 6:00 p.m. is for Pintados Night; and March 20, a Sunday at 6:30 a.m. is a Mass at Parish of Saint William, 8:00 a.m. is for the much-anticipated Tribe Competition, 3:00 p.m. is for the Awarding and Closing Program, and at 7:00 p.m. is intended for “A Night with STARS” and Fireworks Display.

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