Friday, April 27, 2012

Raising Greater Heights of Progress for the 40th Carabao-Carroza Festival in Pavia

In the Philippines, water buffalos locally known as carabaos have been domesticated for thousands of years. They are known to be as “farmers’ best friend” or as “living tractors” because they have become economically important, thus, making them an integral part in almost all traditional villages farming structure.

photo by Leo Solinap

To pay tribute to this farm animal that has become a national symbol of the Philippines, carabao races and parades have been celebrated annually in many agricultural communities. The style of racing, the distances and the type of events vary significantly by the area in which the race is occurring, and many towns all over the country offer different types of carabao races.

In Iloilo, the family-friendly community of Pavia, an agricultural town 9.6 kilometers north from Iloilo City and known for its “baye-baye” and “suman” celebrates a festival of the carabaos through the annual Carabao-Carroza, the longest existing festival in Iloilo Province.

photo by Leo Solinap

Local and foreign tourists flock to the municipality of Pavia to witness this annual carabaos race that started forty years ago. It has become a tradition since then as farmers race their strongest and fastest carabaos. The race is of two major types: flat racing and carroza-racing. The flat race is where carabaos driven by farmer run across the 100-meter long parallel grassy track; while the carroza race is driven by farmers with carrozas drawn by the carabaos. The race is based on speed and stamina of the carabaos.

Prior to the race, the festival also features a colorful parade of 18 decorated bamboo carrozas representing the 18 barangays of Pavia. Along with their 18 muses, the carrozas also bear the local produce of these barangays.

The grand opening parade will take off at Ungka-I on May 3, 2012. The parade will proceed to the open field of Pavia High School for a short program to be followed by the race. At 7 p.m., the Grand Coronation of the Carabao-Carroza Festival Queen will take place at the municipal plaza of the same day.

Many festivals in Iloilo come from a culture that was born out of prosperity and abundance. Many towns are rich in natural resources suitable for all types of livelihood, from fishing to hunting and especially farming. These towns celebrate their traditional festivals, mostly livelihood-based and are worth the trip, in case one gets the chance to experience them.

The annual celebration of the Carabao-Carroza Festival boasts Pavia’s rich cultural meaning and long history as it compose an important part of the Ilonggo culture. It also helps a great deal in preserving this indigenous celebration in Iloilo that despite the advent of modern machineries that are rapidly replacing our carabaos for agriculture making most of the farm work mechanized, the Carabao-Carroza festival continuous to rise for greater heights of progress for Pavia.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Iloilo Province Celebrates 11th Tubong-Tubong Festival in Tubungan

Iloilo is a province of rich culture and expressive festivals enjoyed and celebrated with a great zeal. One of this is the annual Tubong-Tubong Festival of Tubungan.

Tubong-Tubong was established with its mission of promoting and preserving the cultural and artistic heritage of the people of this town. While dedicated to maintain the traditional aspects of their past, the celebration also presents to the public, a variety of cultural programs. The municipal government is also active in encouraging and promoting the development of youth who will carry their heritage with them into the next century.

The municipality is known for its rolling hills, mountains and a number of waterfalls will play host to the 11th annual celebration, a week-long festival featuring live music, dance, agricultural fair, food, sports and community outreach and much more. With the theme, “Tubong-Tubong: Pundasyon Kang Banwang Mainuswagon,” the highlight will certainly be street dancing competition with eight (8) districts represented by tribes at the municipal open field on Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

Derived from the Hiligaynon word “tubong” or “to contribution or chip-in,” the festival is based on the local tradition of Filipinos called “Bayanihan.”The Spanish Law of the Indies required that an area, to be recognized as a town, must comply with population needs. Tubungan was then part of Guimbal. Its early settlers were the people of barrio Nahapay in Guimbal. Tubungan formally became an independent town in May 1, 1938 via Executive Order No. 143 under President Manuel L. Quezon. People from neighboring Guimbal, Leon, Igbaras and Tigbauan settled peacefully in Tin-an, the present town site, thus, the local word "tubong," was in reference to these communities that settled permanently in the area.

A common theme for the annual tribal presentations depicts the spirit of cooperative effort involving a community of members and features a small fiesta to express gratitude. Other tribes focus on indigenous beliefs such as folk rituals established among the people in the community and the non-human beings, such as spirits and divinities. Cultural practices as expressed in a collection of stories are also presented where it shaped the history of this town and what the future lies for Tubungan.

What makes this festival of much importance is that the individual presentation is a special moment of socialization especially for the young generations of Tubunganons. It is through their participation in the collective chants and dances that they have the opportunity of learning and grasping the wealth of their culture.

All efforts are initiated by the municipal government headed by their municipal mayor, Hon. Vicente T. Gargaritano to keep the festival concept intact with minimal modifications. Due credit also goes to the conscious Tubunganons who take all the efforts to uphold the traditional values of the age-old traditions.

Tubong-Tubong Festival 2012 opened with a Parade and Food Festival in April 25; Blood-letting, the Search for Miss Tubong-Tubong in April 26; Walk for a Cause, Festival for Kids and the Opening of the Agri-Trade Fair and Forum, Games and the SKMF Night in April 27; Medical, Dental and Surgical Mission, Basketball Game, TNHS Alumni Night in April 28; 1st Invitational Motocross Competition, Battle of the Sound and a Benefit Dance in April 29; Drum Corps Competition, Mardi Gras Competition, LGU Night in April 30; Mass, Street Dancing Competition, Battle of the Sound for Motorcycles, Awards Night, Fireworks Display and Live Band on May 1, 2012.

The municipality of Tubungan is made up of 48 barangays and is 41.1 kilometers away southwest from Iloilo City. It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Leon, on the south by the municipality of Guimbal, on the east by the municipality of Tigbauan and on the west by the municipality of Igbaras.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Resort-hopping in Maasin

Also known as the bamboo capital of Iloilo, the mountainous municipality of Maasin is an agricultural community. This friendly, clean town in the west-central part of Iloilo Province is quite attractive, scenic route with a beautiful view of mountains from neighboring municipalities and provinces.

Maasin has its share in offering visitors amenities to round off their stay perfectly. Not far from the New Iloilo Airport in Cabatuan, it is a place to spend a few relaxing days.

The area around Maasin is mostly paved and good to drive on. Though fairly isolated, there are surprisingly a number of quiet, family-friendly inland resorts with lots of day trippers on weekends and where you can stay the night. Try one of these resorts for a pleasant change from the hectic of the city with prices that decidedly affordable. The atmosphere is friendly and homely, and rooms in the resorts are basic but pleasant and clean.

Visits to the following destinations make good trips from the city. A good rule for these resorts is to find your own way there. The resorts are not that far from the poblacion and you do not really need a guide.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The Riverside Inland Resort in Barangay Naslo is a quiet inland resort with a reasonable fan room with a private bathroom and can hold 20 persons. There are two pools available to guests and is situated at the center of activity for the inland resort. Experience peace of mind as toddlers and kids enjoy the waters of their 8mx8m, 3-feet deep kiddie pool, boasting its water slides. Please note that children must be 4-feet or taller to ride the slides. It also has an 8mx16m, 6 feet deep adult pool. Swimming fee cost P50.00 for 12 hours. It has six (6) cottages that can hold up to 12 persons. Their new pavilion can hold 100 persons and the mini-pavilion can hold 60 persons. The resort is open daily from 7 a.m. till 9 p.m. Entrance fee cost P20.00. For more information, please call Miss Jusally Pelajo at 09991677153 or 09306359228.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Whether you want a holiday full of relaxation, Villa Benedicta Hillside Resort caters for all tastes. Opened in 1998, this two-hectare inland resort is situated in an elevated land in Delgado Street, Barangay Delcar. One can chill out in its nicely set pools: a two-feet and four-feet deep pools for kids and a 6-feet main pool measuring 9mx18m for adults. Swimming fee is at P50.00 per person. The resort has an air-conditioned family room with a private bathroom that can accommodate 10-15 persons and two (2) single rooms with electric fan. It also has a pavilion that can accommodate 400 persons. For more information, please contact Mrs. Lumensita Cartagena at (033) 3330056 or 09061989066 and 09199311667. The resort opens daily from 8 a.m. till 11 p.m.

ziplining is a popular activity in this resort, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Villa Teresita Resthauz Bamboo Resort and Adventure Park in Barangay Tubang is a beautifully landscaped area with grounds that features a play area perfect for summer adventures such as swimming, horseback riding, fishing and zip-lining. Villa Teresita makes the perfect retreat after a day at the nearby attractions. It has an air-conditioned family room; a pavilion that can accommodate 300 persons perfect for important family occasions. An intimate office meeting, training and seminar is perfect on its mini pavilion good for 50 persons. Cottages are also available for that fun group outing. The resort opens at 8 a.m. till 10 p.m. daily with an entrance fee of P20.00 per person. For more information please call 09095012398 or 09488700200.

The municipality of Maasin is 29.5 kilometers away from Iloilo City or an hour jeepney-ride from Ungka Terminal II beside Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippine Office. It is said that the town of Maasin got its name from the salt springs in Sitio Pait found in Barangay Magsaysay, a kilometer away from the poblacion. Early settlers frequent the spring for their supply of salt.

Composed of 50 barangays, it is bounded in the north-east by the town of Janiuay; the municipality of Cabatuan in the east; in the south by the town of Alimodian, and; north-west by the mountain ranges of the Province of Antique. For more information, please contact Mr. Roy Bermudo at (033) 3960604 or 09189377443.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Unlimited Kite Flights under Open Skies for Borador sa Katagman in Oton

Long comfortable days and mountain air so clear, summer in Iloilo will be an unforgettable experience, where activities abound, and every day is filled with fun. If hiking, biking or exploring tire you out, take your family and friends for a kite-flying adventure, a huge fun for both big and little folk.

Kites form part of many different cultures around the world. It was said that kites originated in China approximately 3000 years ago. In those times, kites were made of silk fabrics and bamboo for its lightweight frame. Kites were popular instruments used to measure distances; test the direction of the wind; for signaling and communication purposes.

In Solomon Islands, kites are also used as a fishing aid. Koreans used kites to announce the birth of a child. In Japan, windsocks, made in the shape of a fish (carp), symbolizes strength and strong will, overcoming great obstacles to achieve their goal. Like the Chinese, the Japanese have a special day for flying kites or windsocks every 5th of May in an event popularly known as "Children's Day."

There are many kite festivals organized around the world that features kites of different shapes and sizes. Kite-flying still has some popularity especially among children. In addition adults are also often seen flying kites.

In the Philippines, mostly in the rural areas, kite flying is also a craze during the summer. Filipinos fly their kites from open grounds. While some, fly kites from the roofs of their houses. Kite-flying is a common hobby of many Filipinos throughout the country. Kites may be flown for recreation or other practical uses. Sport kites can be flown in aerial ballet, sometimes as part of a competition.

It is a form of outdoor sport that many took into the status of art. From the designs and sizes of kites to the making of unbreakable wire, for many this became a matter of honor to compete in who is who among the best kite fighters in their neighborhood. By late morning or at early afternoon, the sky becomes peppered with kites of different colors and sizes. Just like the Borador sa Katagman in Oton, Iloilo celebrated this year on April 30 at 7:30 a.m. in Barangay Trapiche.

In Hiligaynon, kite is called borador. Borador sa Katagman is an annual event that is traditionally a part of the festivities at the Katagman Festival of Oton, Iloilo held this year from April 28 till the 3rd of May. Kite enthusiasts show off their stunt skills and compete for awards in many categories. The Borador sa Katagman is one of the most popular annual events in Oton.

Borador sa Katagman features a large assortment of single line kites that are unusual in their shape and design. Many stand out from the crowd with kites attracting lots of attention, making the sky come alive. The skies of Oton is loaded with color and motion, from classic boxes to spinning, tumbling sky sculptures shaped like airplanes or ships, flowers or insects.

The local government of Oton holds Borador sa Katagman kite flying competition partly to boost the town’s tourism industry. Many people visit Oton to witness the kite flying competitions. Some 200 kites annually participate. The municipal government is promoting this traditional game not only to showcase some of the most beautiful kites across Iloilo but also for the youths to prevent them from engaging in unhealthy activities.

Come spend the day with your family and friends and witness Borador sa Katagman in Barangay Trapiche in Oton. Soak in the relaxing atmosphere under the sun, and share a lovely conversation in between snack bites on the picnic mat. Do not forget to bring a kite along and fly it high up into the sky together.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Wealth of Adventure at MILA’s HILL Inland Resort in New Lucena

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

A serene setting of an inland resort in a farmland awaits discovery. Mila’s Hill Inland Resort is one of the newest tourism destinations set aside to preserve Iloilo’s natural beauty. The resort is located in Barangay Pasil, New Lucena, a town situated at the central portion of the province of Iloilo and 28 kilometers from the city. It is in a secluded area with lush flowing grounds and a unique picture-perfect location that gives this resort its exotic ambience.
photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The resort is a two-hectare verdant land that offers visitors not only a peaceful and relaxing time, but also a chance to learn more about nature amidst tranquil surroundings. Visitors will be awed by the remoteness and tranquility of the destination. The resort was originally established as a family rest area. But when the property was refurbished, people became interested and started flocking for day tours, special events, or as a venue for other important family occasion. The resort is run by a family corporation and is currently managed by Mr. Reynold Jardiolin.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

It is open for public access and offers various recreational opportunities. The admission fee is a reasonable and it is well worth a visit. There is a nominal admission fee of P20.00 for kids and P30.00 for adults that help with the upkeep of the site. The resort offers its guests the opportunity to see and enjoy some of the sites and activities in the area.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Prepare for the thrill of a lifetime as you harness up and glide through the air on the resort’s action packed zip-line adventure. Experience a rush as you soar 75 feet over the area’s mini zoo, aviary, butterfly garden and pool with a length of 200 meters. For P100.00 per person, experience the resort’s natural beauty as never before while soaring through their zip- line.

Another family-friendly resort attraction is its aviary. The resort fosters caring for the natural environment through our connection with birds. Here you can see 15 species of individual birds living in harmony with one another, all within an open-air sanctuary that has paths and trails leading to the birds' preferred nesting areas. Kids will surely love this place. The resort is one of the very few places in Iloilo where children are certain to see some of the most popular colored birds and hopefully develop a sense of respect for them.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The resort’s mini zoo will truly be a unique, fun, and fascinating experience for kids who love animals, and even adults from every walk of life. Come and experience close encounters with ostrich, snakes, deer, eagle, peacock, civet cat and crocodile.

The resort also invites guests to experience their trial rides; suitable for kids. This ideal family outing is at a walk-jog pace for everyone’s safety, and our friendly guides and beloved horses offer an entirely new perspective on the lovely fields that surround the resort. A perfect introduction to riding for youngsters, the resort’s pony rides are outdoors and self-guided. Pony rides are on a first-come-first-served basis – no reservations are necessary. The first 30-minute ride would cost P150.00.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

When warm weather is approaching, it is time to think about swimming outside. A day in the pool is a fun way to enjoy the outdoors during a hot summer day. Visitors will enjoy splish-splashing around its cool and refreshing pools: a 3-feet deep kiddie pool would cost P40.00 and 5-feet deep pool for adults for P50.00.

It is also a perfect hideaway that offers complete privacy and good accommodations, with four (4) fan rooms good for four (4) persons and an air-conditioned room good for six (6) persons. There is an air-conditioned pavilion that can accommodate 120 persons perfect for an intimate party or any social gatherings. A gorgeous promenade sits at the end of a pathway surrounded by tropical gardens. The pathway leading to the pavilion starts at the main entrance and around the beautiful gardens.

So whether you are planning a team-building retreat, or looking for something new to try with your family and friends, Mila’s Hill Inland Resort is the perfect place to spend your day in the mountains. It is a comfortable and relaxed environment. Your time here is your own.

New Lucena is politically subdivided into 21 barangays and is bounded on the northeast by the Municipality of Pototan; on the southeast by the Municipality of Zarraga; on the southwest by the Municipality of Sta. Barbara; and on the northwest by the Municipality of Cabatuan and a little portion of Mina. The town proper of New Lucena could be traversed by land either way via Dawis-Zarraga or via Sta. Barbara. It is 9.8 kilometers away from Sta. Barbara, 15 kilometers away from Cabatuan, 6 kilometers away from Pototan, 6.6 kilometers away from Zarraga and 11 kilometers away from Mina. New Lucena is crisscrossed by the roads from the north to south and east to west thus providing roads for easy means of transportation.

To get to the resort in New Lucena, one can take a jeepney from the terminal in front of Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City. Get off at Brgy. Cabilauan and get a tricycle ride going to the resort that opens daily from 9 am till 5 pm. For more information please call (033) 3969698 or at 09997797387, 09199310260 or check their blogsite at

Friday, April 6, 2012

Nature Adventure, Exploration and Education at GARINFARM in San Joaquin

Ecotourism is an increasingly emerging segment of the tourism industry which incorporates ideals from Nature Tourism, Cultural Tourism and Rural Tourism. It emphasizes on conservation, education, traveler responsibility and active community involvement.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Garinfarm in San Joaquin was established so that the influence of ecotourism alongside it numerous adventure activities will create social economic growth and education will find their way closer to the local community. It was developed as potential and viable tourist destination and an alternative for the tourists who seek to enjoy the beauty of nature and value the environment that sustain it. It is a locally developed inland resort designed for outdoor recreation, education and adventure.

Garinfarm is also perfect venue for programs for the youth and adults as well as a variety of activities for a wide range of groups. This inland resort has all the adventure you need— on agriculture, leisure and pilgrimage.

Agriculture Area

When driving past beautiful historic churches throughout the south of the province or enjoying the day at the area’s seacoast, be sure your itinerary includes a stop at Iloilo’s main agri-tourism destination along the way. Garinfarm is positioned as an agricultural tourism destination. The inland resort is working to preserve the area as a viable economic agricultural entity. It practices organic farming.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Upon entering the site, visitors are welcomed by the area’s agricultural section. It offers extensive farm attractions open to the public. These inland resort offer unique experiences to see, feel, and taste agriculture at its source.

Educational sites on farming techniques can be seen such as the section in Hydrophonics--- a standard technique in the study of biology and in research, it is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil. It is said that almost any terrestrial plant will grow with hydroponics. Hydroponics is also a standard technique in biology research and teaching. Herb gardeners will find the section on vermiculture interesting as teaches visitors on composting using earthworms. It also creates no odor. It is in fact easily done inside the home as it takes only a small amount of room.

The section also has eight (8) layer houses with almost 12,000 chicken laying 10,000 eggs daily. It houses many farm animals where visitors can feed. It has demonstration areas on urban farming, outdoor Ilonggo farming and a bahay kubo.

Leisure Area

This section combines a number of activities and is great for children because it provides a variety of activities.

Soak up stunning mountain and ocean views of San Joaquin as you ride across and glide like a bird to its 600-meter zip-line adventure, the most popular adventure activity in the site. Elevated at an estimated 30 feet from its base, visitors can enjoy this thrill of a lifetime.

Let your kids be themselves while they enjoy many outdoor adventurous activities. The inland resort’s newest adventure mixes a beautiful ride on gentle ponies designed for kids with a maximum weight of 60 kilos. With the thrill of fun, goat cart rides are also available for kids.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The novice and experienced boaters can get their feet wet by taking advantage of boat rides from pedal-boats, kayak and rubber inflatable boats. One can also go fishing as the area is stocked with tilapia where visitors are given rods and can pay for their day’s catch. What a great way to introduce a child you know to the world of fishing. Make plans with your child today to go fishing this summer.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Swimming is an important lifelong skill and during the summer, for visitors who love to spend hot days splashing around in a pool, the site has a four feet deep pool for kids and 5.5 feet deep feet pool for adults.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The area has a pavilion that can accommodate 300 persons and a canteen to cater to your gastronomic needs. It also sells Garinfarm-made products such as ice cream, bread and coco sugar.

And if you are looking for resort holiday accommodation in an area, Garinfarm has 20 units with individual landscaped miniature falls. It has four (4) single rooms good for two; four (4) family rooms good for six; and 12 standard rooms for four persons.


photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Enjoy gorgeous mountain views while hiking up to and down from its 480-step viewing deck at the base of its 100-feet Blazing Cross. On your way to the steps from the main base, you will see nine life-sizes religious scenes from Creation until the Ascension of Christ. Visitors can also avail of golf carts on their way to and from the viewing deck.

Garinfarm provides outdoor adventures for corporations, youth groups, and social clubs. The possibilities are virtually endless. Traveling for an adventure is no longer an exclusive undertaking, but an alternative accessible to everyone. Most of the visitors discover a simple feeling of achievement: The exhilarating confidence gained from a new experience in Garinfarm remains long after the adventure ends.

When driving past scenic beaches, beautiful historic structures in San Joaquin or simply enjoying the day at the area’s seacoast, be sure your itinerary includes a stop at Iloilo’s main agri-tourism destination along the way. Whether guests seek relaxation or adventure, Garinfarm in San Joaquin, Iloilo offers a wealth of diversions.

Garinfarm in San Joaquin is 53 kilometers south from Iloilo City. It is situated in Purok 11, poblacion and opens daily from 8 am until 9 pm. Jeepneys from the city bring their passengers direct to the entrance of the resort. From the poblacion area of the town, it is an P8.00 tricycle ride to the area.

For more information, please call May or Bernie at (063-33) 3147555 direct to Garinfarm or call Mrs. Erlyn Alunan, Municipal Tourism Officer at 09179857804.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

10th BANTAYAN Festival in Guimbal

Philippines history would tell us that series of wars between Spanish authorities and the Moros lasted over several centuries starting 1500s till the 1800s. And that Spain initiated the conflict by conquering the Philippines and invading Moro territory in an effort to subjugate the region to their rule. And because of this, Moros raided and pillaged Spanish towns in some islands in the Philippine in retaliation for Spanish attacks, and terrorized the Spanish invaders with their constant piracy. It was said that Moro attacks were so persistent and successful that in many of the Visayan towns, almost half of the inhabitants were killed or enslaved. What motivated the Moros to wage war with Spanish authorities was to weaken Spanish capabilities in attacking Mindanao and Sulu.

Many fortifications and watch towers were made around Panay to protect island from rampant Moro attacks. In Iloilo, the construction of numerous coastal watchtowers locally known as Bantayan in the northern and southern areas form part of a system of communication where each tower, placed at intervals along borders, was in sight of the next in the line, and a simple system of signaling was used between them.

A Bantayan is a type of fortification used primarily for military purposes. It is commonly a freestanding structure with the purpose of providing a high and safe place from which a sentinel or guard may observe the surrounding area.

Forced labor was employed in the construction of these watchtowers. In Iloilo, most of the stones used were quarried in the mountains of Leon and Alimodian. Churches were even constructed to serve as fortresses like the ones in Miag-ao, Pavia and Dumangas where bells were rung to warn the natives to flee and hide into safety places.

Guimbal is known as one of Iloilo’s most important cultural and historical areas. Spanish authorities built beautiful structures such as the church, stone bridge and watchtowers.

A town 29 kilometers away south from the city, Guimbal got its name from a musical instrument called guimba. The Spaniards discovered the settlers using the instrument to warn the people of the coming of the raiding Moro pirates who used to loot the town and capture the natives to be sold as slaves in Mindanao. To show gratitude to the instrument, the inhabitants named their settlement Guimbal.

Originally, the town has four Bantayans located in different sites along the shoreline area in the poblacion. They have lasted the centuries with remarkable strength. The town has three such towers that remain to this day. The significant cultural and historic value of these structures is something Gumbalanons will always be proud of.

Adding color to the town's colorful history is the annual celebration of Bantayan Festival. The festival presentation depicts the battle between the natives of this town against the Moros. Prominent in every showcase is the use of prop such as the guimba, the instrument used to warn the natives of an incoming Moro raid, and the bantayan. Seeking to give their dance presentations more communicative power, tribes perform theatrical dances characterized by large casts of great variety with momentum and impulses of the dance movement typically parallel the rhythms of the music.

On its 10th year, the annual celebration of Bantayan Festival is celebrated this year on April 10 with its Opening of Food Festival and Agro Fair, Opening Parade, Drum and Float Competition, Street Dancing Competition and Search for Miss Bantayan Festival; April 11 welcomes everyone with its Disco Derby; April 12 is for Boat Racing, Porma Balas, Pinta Lawas, Fluvial Parade, Re-enactment of the Moro Raids and the 7th Bantayan Video Festival; April 13 opens with a Musical Concert with Artists featuring Khalil Ramos, Buildex and Krissel with comedian guests; April 14 commence with the Tribal Dance-Drama Competition and Fireworks Competition.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Leganes: the Mecca of Western Visayas Celebrates 8th SAAD Festival

Filipinos are known for their strong religiosity. Our faith is deeply embedded in our life and culture. The Filipino Catholic community shares a number of beliefs and practices. We venerate sacred images by placing them permanently in the church, permanently venerated in the church, and may be displayed at the Mass of their feast or during the novena in their honor.

Another popular devotion is the touching and kissing the images of saints as well as genuflecting before them. Dancing before these images during processions and even in church is another typical way of expressing veneration or of asking favor from the saint. Lighting votive candles before sacred images and offering flowers to them and even writing letters of petition or of thanksgiving and placing them before the image of patron saints are traditional among Filipino Catholics.

Deep Filipino religiosity is also found in every Filipino religious celebration throughout the year. Although some religious festivals occur each year on a set date, many religious festivals occur at different times each year.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)

photo by JV Vladimir Perez (PALI)

For many years in Iloilo, the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Leganes has been a figure of devotion for many Filipinos of the Roman Catholic faith. People, especially the devotees, would hear mass and participate in the palapak believing it would heal them of various diseases. The Palapak in Leganes, a special feature of the celebration has become a popular practice among devotees where the base of a small statue of Saint Vincent Ferrer is pressed on the head of a devotee hoping for a miraculous cure from the winged saint. Many who suffer from various sickness and even those with physical disabilities are amongst those faithful hoping that a miracle might happen through St. Vincent Ferrer’s intercession. Wonders and miraculous healing have been attributed by the faithful to their vow of devotion to the patron saint.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)

And because of this, Leganes has become a pilgrimage center, not only in Iloilo, but of the whole region, as devotion to the saint, renowned for his miracles, has touched the lives of many who believed.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)

The religious community of Leganes show great enthusiasm in the palapak and incorporate it in the celebration of their annual Saad Festival. Saad is a Hiligaynon term for “vow, “depicts the community’s intense spirituality and religious faith. The festival is filled with colors and music. Choreographed steps such as processional marches with dancers dressed in traditional Filipino costumes with scapulars hanging on their necks and carrying the image of the winged saint halts by intervals, and utters, “San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!” Performers dance for joy in praise to their patron saint for his deliverance.

photo by Jose de Luna

This celebration for this year’s Saad Festival is a 10-day long celebration that starts with a Novernario kay San Vicente, Opening Salvo and Band Concert in the evening; April 10 is the Opening of Fiesta Bazaar, Agro-Trade Fair and Sports Activities; April 11 is for the Opening of Tumandok Food Expo and Photo Exhibit and Mangrove Planting; April 12 gears up with a Grand Civic Parade and the Formal Opening of the 72nd Town Fiesta; April 13 opens with a Car Show and BNS/ BSPO/ BHW Night; April 14 is a day for Balik Tanaw (Senior Citizen’s Night); April 15 is for Audio Day and the Search for Little Mr. and Miss Saad Festival; April 16 opens with the LGU Employees Day and the Miss Saad Festival Beauty pageant; April 17 is for the Sinadsad sa Saad Festival Dance Parade, Cultural dance Competition, Fireworks Display; and April 18 culminates with the Fiesta Day and the Coronation of Leganes Fiesta Queen 2012.

San Vicente Ferrer has followed Christ in the diversity of stations in life and the people of Leganes and devotees celebrate his feast to invoke his intercession with God and to obtain the inspiration and to imitate his example. With great confidence we can ask him to intercede for us.

The municipality of Leganes is 10.9 kilometers away from the city. To get there, one can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza, Iloilo City. For more information, please call the Municipal Tourism Officer of Leganes, Mr. Jerry Anas at (033) 3296622.

Celebrating Tubungan’s Colorful and Vibrant Cultural Festival

Tubungan, Iloilo on its 250th Foundation Anniversary will celebrate the 17th Tubong-Tubong Festival, the town’s tradition that runs ...