Monday, January 11, 2016

Pasungay and Pahibag: Honouring the Community’s Cultural and Historical Heritage

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU

The annual Pasungay and Pahibag or Bull Fight and Horse Fight is celebrated in San Jaoquin, Iloilo on January 16, 2016 (Saturday) at 8 o’clock in the morning attracting many local villagers as well as tourists from neighboring parts of the region.

Since then, bull and horse fight has been carried on generation after generation. Local villagers often hold such activity to entertain themselves. Ownership of a bull or a horse especially among upland farmers is known to be some form of a status symbol. The number and quality of bulls and horses a man owns oftentimes determines his status and wealth in the community where he belongs. 

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU

The bulls and horses are specially bred and conditioned for increased stamina and strength. Bull and Horse fighting are featured events during annual fiestas. Many eager spectators travel long distances from upland barangays to see bulls and horses pitched against each other.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU

People gather and many would climb trees for a better view of the festival taking place at the San Joaquin Sports Arena. The crowd cheers – the object of their excitement are stallions and bulls. Males clash over mates and the weaker ones give in to their stronger counterpart before they are seriously injured.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU
Pasungay and Pahibag is an emotionally intense event with a building up of tension to a point of climax. During such fights the bulls and horses push, shove, head-but, bite, and kick each other to submission.  The animal loses the fight if it runs out of the pre-defined ring.    In some cases, the organizers allow the victorious stallion to mate the mare.

The annual celebration of Pasungay and Pahibagn honours the community’s artistic, cultural and historical heritage.

San Joaquin is a 2nd Class municipality and is 85 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is the last town south of the province. It has a land area of 23,135 hectares subdivided into 85 barangays. It annually celebrates its patronal fiesta every January. Market days are every Wednesdays and Fridays.


To get to the town one can take a jeepney situated at the market in Rizal Street the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo or at the Don Benita Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. For more information, please contact Mrs. Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09176619120.

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