Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pasungay and Pahibag: A Tradition in San Joaquin

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Tourism Office

Pasungay and Pahibag, the traditional bull and horse fighting in San Joaquin stands out as one of the most awaited events in the month of January. Pasungay highlights this year’s six-day municipal fiesta celebration and will go centerstage on January 19 (Saturday) at 10 a.m. at the San Joaquin Sports Stadium alongside other activities: January 14 (Monday) Opening Parade and Drum Corps Competition; January 15 (Tuesday) Miss Teen San Joaquin; January 16 (Wednesday) Elementary Day; January 17 (Thursday) Bayluhay Tribe Parade an Performance at 4 pm., San Jaquin Got Talent and Gabi ng Parangal; January 18 (Friday) Parade of Fiesta Queen Mardi Gras Competition at 3 p.m. and Disco at 8 p.m.; January 19 (Saturday) Pasungay and Coronation of Fiesta Queen at 9:30 p.m.

Bullfighting exists in many countries. Some may consider it as a way of life and a celebrated tradition. It is regarded as a spiritual experience that represents the battles between man and nature and man and himself. Although horse fighting is outlawed in many countries, the people of San Joaquin continue this tradition because of its cultural importance.
photo courtesy of San Joaquin Tourism Office

These horses are specifically bred for horse to horse combat with specific considerations of their size and sturdiness and trained for fighting.

The municipality of San Joaquin is an unending succession of Marine Protected coastlines with folds and peaks. At the San Joaquin Sports Stadium, a stretch of open flat land where spectators are annually cheering a fierce horse and carabao (water buffalo) fight.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Tourism Office

Bull and horse fighting is an annual traditional sport of the community. As horse and carabao fighting increased in popularity, more and more people began to take part, and horse fights became part of every traditional festival.

Pasungay lasts only for a day. Into the fight arena come the magnificent and awesome carabaos and horses, led by their owners. The muscled, sturdy carabaos and horses gather in the horse-fight ground are itching to fight. Then it starts. The first pair of horse pounces at each other, they rear up, they bite, spin round and kick with their hind legs as the exciting and absorbing fight arouses cheers from the crowds of spectators. If one falls down or runs away, the other one is declared the winner and another two take their place. The winning horses and carabaos then fight each other.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Tourism Office

Many would lay bets on which one will be standing when the fighting ends. The fight normally goes on for half an hour or more, until one or the other collapses or is simply too exhausted to continue.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Tourism Office

Bull and horsefighting continue to attract audiences from all walks of life. Some come for the tradition and some for the spectacle. With its celebration of centuries of custom and tradition, bullfighting continues to be a time-honored practice in San Joaquin.

To get to San Joaquin, the last municipality in the southern district of Iloilo Province, one can take a jeepney at the DON BENITO Q. ACAP SR. SOUTHERN ILOILO PERIMETER BOUNDARY TERMINAL in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo or at the market terminal along Mabini St. in Iloilo City. Metered taxis are also available. For more information, please contact Mrs. Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09179857804.

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