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.

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