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Celebrations, Festivities and Fiesta

Just like any towns, cities and provinces in the Philippines, people of Iloilo or the Ilonggos are fond of celebrations and festivities. In fact, many towns in the province had their own festivals to celebrate life, give honor to their patron saints as well as thanksgiving for their produce for a bountiful harvest, their products and the values therein aside from holding their respective religious Fiesta. Some of the celebrations in Iloilo are the following:

1. Pasungay - is held every 21st of January during the town fiesta of San Joaquin. The best breeds of bulls and horses are brought to the town arena to take part in one of Iloilo’s most celebrated festivals. The annual horse fight called “Pahibag” and bull-fight called “Pasungay” is held at the San Joaquin Sports Stadium starting 9 in the morning onwards. In the arena in the hills of San Joaquin the bulls were fighting or slugging each other until one is exhausted or run away. The pasungay according to the historians dates back to the Spanish colonial period when two furious bulls were set loose by the cow keepers and fighting bulls in the hillside was witnessed by the resting farmers. Today, Pasungay is part of the week-long Bayluhay Festival of San Joaquin.

2. Dinagyang - the popular festival is held annually every fourth weekend of January. The celebration centers around the veneration and honoring the pilgrimage of the Holy Child Jesus or the Santo Niño. The term "Dinagyang" was coined by the late broadcaster Pacifico Sudario which means merrymaking. Different tribes coming from different school, city communities and villages and organizations painted their body black to resemble the ati or the original inhabitants of Panay Island and Ilonggos early ancestors and wearing colorful, elaborate costumes which showcases Ilonggos artistry, creativity and innovation. The competition is unique for its choreography, performance and color. A presentation marked by dancing and thumping of feet to the rhythm of drums and other local or native percussion instruments. It commemorates and celebrate the arrival of Malay settlers in the island of Panay, the barter of Panay and most importantly the Ilonggos embracing of Christianity.

3. The feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria or Our Lady of Candles in Jaro every 2nd of February - It is considered the most lavish and biggest fiesta celebration in Western Visayas. Since the earlier times, people from different places in the country flock to Jaro for this occasion. Crowned in 1981 by Pope John Paul II, the Our Lady of Candles was formally declared as the Patroness of Western Visayas. The blessing of the candles all of the same size and of the same color for the year, and the annual procession of the patron saint followed by the coronation of Jaro Fiesta Queen at night were featured in the celebration. The fiesta of Jaro also features agro-industrial fair and exhibits, garden shows, carnivals and the Grand Cock Derbies held in Jaro Coliseum.

4. Paraw Regatta - held annually every third weekend of February. The oldest double outrigger craft sailing event in Asia and was first held in 1973, this sailing competition among local double outrigger boats operator takes place between the straits of Iloilo and Guimaras. It commemorates the past time and leisure of early Ilonggos that dates back to as early as the 16th century. It was called "Paraw" in Hiligaynon, these were the sea vessels replica of the ships that were used by the early Bornean settlers in coming to Panay Island.

5. Pagtaltal in Guimaras - A holy week tradition presentation in Jordan, Guimaras in the so-called "Balaan Bukid"  or Sacred Mountain based on the popular play in Oberammergau in South Bavaria, Germany. The actual crucifixion of a chosen devotee to commemorate the crucifixion of Christ also includes prayers, reflection, penance and other folkloric culture.

6. Carabao-Carroza Festival - Held every 3rd of May during the town fiesta of Pavia. The parade and chariot-like carabao race are the highlights of the fiesta celebration of Pavia. The colorfully and elaborately decorated carrozas (Hiligaynon term for a local version of the wagon) pulled by the carabaos carrying different muses or beauty queens are parading around the town.  The exciting thrill is the race of the carabaos wherein a number of participants are competing in a chariot-like race for the coveted trophy.


This post first appeared on Ocean Breeze, please read the originial post: here

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Celebrations, Festivities and Fiesta


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