Monday, March 11, 2013

Pintados de Pasi Festival: A Celebration of Power and Prestige

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

One of the most colorful festivals in the region will take place in the picturesque city of Passi on Iloilo’s central district from March 9-17, 2013. For the last 13 years, visitors from all parts of the country make their way through this amazing tattoo festival annually celebrated as a sign of their cultural identity where inked creations were revered as an art form and to celebrate alongside their foundation anniversary as a component city in the Province of Iloilo.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Pintados de Pasi Festival highlights with the tribal dance competition where participants paint their body with elaborate patterns and shapes. The dance is characterized by the flow, a seamless stream of movements that emphasizes the agility of the upper body with simultaneous alternating waving of arms which are the basic movement of the Pintados dance. The dance involves leaping, turning, jumping and kicking movements of a warrior. They wear colorful costumes tightly on their bodies. During the dance, drums and plastic pipes are commonly used. Bamboo poles are also used and pounded with sticks to keep the beat and to produce musical tones.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

As always, the celebration will bring a varied program with all kinds of surprises and great live music await every visitor. Various fun-filled activities are listed up for this 9-day occasion with outdoor activities that feature traditional games, lots of food and shopping. With the theme, “Kulturang Passinhon: Balikdon kag Palanggaon,” this year’s celebration will open on March 9 (Saturday) with the Food Festival and Beauty and the Beat: A Night of Fashion, Music and Merry-making; March 10 (Sunday) Talent and Festival Attire Competition for Bb. Pintados 2013; March 11 (Monday) Dumog 2013- 2nd Passi City Grappling Tournament; March 13 (Wednesday) Tamiya Forward Mini Race Contest; Mach 14 (Thursday) Pasundayag/ Parade and Opening Program of the 15th Foundation Day Celebration, Fireworks Display and Handuraw; March 15 (Friday) Karosa Parada and Carabao Painting Contest, Coronation Night for Bb. Pintados 2013; March 16 (Saturday) Sinadya sa Suba/ Pinta Lawas and; March 17 (Sunday) Tribe Competition at 8 a.m. and Night with the Stars.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The three main island groups of the Philippines had a strong tattoo tradition. It was already common even before the archipelago was colonized by Spain. But it is in the islands of the Visayas where tribesmen wore the most elaborate, intricate and extensive etchings that led Spanish chroniclers to call the island “La Isla De Los Pintados” or “Islands of the Painted Ones.” It was said that when Spanish authorities arrived in the island, they were welcomed by a group of heavily tattooed men.
Tattoos were used on men to show tribal seniority, accomplishments, age, and power, as well as acting as talismans in certain cases. It describes their fundamental identity as tribes-people, headhunters, warriors, and community members. Tattoos were earned through the passage of rites ceremonies and for accomplishing specific tasks. Both the men and the women were tattooed, and for a variety of reasons. The Visayan men were warriors, commonly headhunters with strong, detailed lines on their chests and heads. The designs or patterns in their body parts would get more elaborate the more enemies they would kill. The women have simpler patterns on their arms and wrists and were regarded as marks of beauty.
Tattooing is still practiced today just as they were many centuries back. The annual celebration of Pintados de Pasi Festival serves as the last bastion of this unbroken tradition of tattooing in Panay.
Passi City is located along the Iloilo-Capiz National Highway. It is an hour ride from Tagbak Bus Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Miss Mae Pojol-Buenaflor - City Tourism Officer at 09213543537.

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