Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pintados de Pasi Festival: Celebrating Passi City’s Ancient Culture

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Every March, many Ilonggos and guests gather at Passi City in order to watch the famous Pintados de Pasi Festival. Begun fourteen years ago, the celebration has gone from strength to strength over the years. Many of the people who gather to view the event up close and personal are not just locals, but have journeyed from every corner of the region in order to see it.

This year, Pintados de Pasi Festival takes place from the 14th till the 18th of March, a time where Passi City becomes home to one of the provinces’ biggest festival and at times almost doubles its normal population.

The origins of Pintados de Pasi date back to 1999 when the celebration opened its doors for the first time. The tribal dance competition, Karosa Parada and Carabao Painting Contest and Binibining Pintados were the original core of activities. The city in partnership with the Passinhon 2000 Incorporated aims to promote and encourage arts of the highest possible standard. The festival has grown steadily over the years and 2005 proved to be its grandest year when it won Grand Prize in the annual Aliwan Festival celebration in Manila.

Known to be an ancient and spiritually respected art form, tattooing existed in many different cultures all over the world. It is an integral part of their culture. While other countries consider tattooing as a newly adopted art, Philippine history would tell us that in some parts of the country, specifically in the Visayas, the art of tattooing has been in fashion for thousands of years. Early accounts of Visayan tattooing date back from 1590 and 1608 by Spanish explorers. It became a form of clothing. Certain designs recognized manhood and personal accomplishments as well as attractiveness, fertility, and continuity of the family or village.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

It was said that most Visayan men would receive their first tattoos as a lower body suit from the ankles to the hips. Facial tattoos occurred on the bravest warriors with names that denoted particular honor. A man also needs to perform some brave deed or conduct himself with fitting courage in battle to earn his first tattoos. As he continued to conduct himself admirably he would earn more and more tattoos.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

The early Visayans also wear tattoos not only to embellish their physical appearance, but that each symbol or pattern had a deep meaning that imbued its wearer with specific powers or energies to protect themselves and in that process creates a lasting and sacred connection between the bearer themselves and his or her community; or with his or her fellows; and with his relationship with nature or the Divine, during the different stages of his or her life journey.

In celebration of its 14th Foundation Anniversary with the theme, “Kulturang Passinhon: Balikdon kag Palanggaon,” the city of Passi, with the leadership of their very dynamic city mayor, Hon. Jesry Palmares invites everyone to come and witness the different activities of the festival that will kick off on March 14 (Wednesday) with a Mass, Pasundayag or Parade, Hinampang, the Opening of the Food Festival and Handuraw or Passinhon’s Golden Memories of Yesteryears; March 15 (Thursday) opens with Pinta Lawas or Body Painting Contest; DUMOG 2012, the 1st Passi City Grappling Tournament and Ginoong Pintados; March 16 (Friday) welcomes everyone with the Karosa parade and Carabao Painting Contest and the Grand Coronation Night of the the Binibining Pintados 2012; March 17 (Saturday) is set for the Exhibition of Exotic Pets and A Night of Mascots and Magicians with Ala Kim; March 18 (Sunday) highlights with a Mass, the Tribe Competition, Awarding Ceremony, Fireworks Display and a Night with the Stars.

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