Holy pilgrimage sites in the Philippines really worth visiting…
Posts from the ‘Filipino Customs and Traditions’ Category
Well, let’s start with a bit of trivia. Do you know that the month of January was named after Janus, the god of gates and doorways hence; of openings and beginnings? It is the 11th month of the year in the ancient Roman calendar. In the 2nd century BC, however, it came to be regarded as the first month. Although the month of June is considered traditionally as the wedding month and February is regarded as love month, according to world statistics, most number of couples got married on the month of January. Amazing, isn’t it? Believe it or not, you better believe it, because I am convinced that this is true.
It was on this month (January) that I experienced to be a “ninong”(principal sponsor on a wedding) five times in a row within the month a couple of years back and it has just duplicated this year. And as a matter of fact, at this very young age of mine (I’m only in my late 30’s) I already have scores of “inaanak sa kasal”, most of it happened on the month of January,(aside from scores of “inaanak sa binyag”) because they have started getting or choosing me as wedding sponsor when I’m only in my early 20’s.
The Philippines has more than a hundred festivals celebrated elsewhere in the archipelago. Here’s a list of the ten most famous and favorite festivals in the country. These festivals are not arranged in any particular order so not to be bias because these festivals are considered the best of the best.
1. Dinagyang Festival – Iloilo City, Philippines
The Dinagyang Festival is celebrated every fourth weekend of January to commemorate the Christianization of the natives and to honor the Holy Child Jesus. It is a very colorful parade coupled with a dramatization in honor of the patron Saint – Sto. Niño. The object of dramatized offerings and prayers amidst the cracking of drums and shouts of “Viva Señor Santo Niño” and the thundering of “Hala Bira” by the tribe members makes the celebration a lively one.
See video here
What does it takes to be considered a hero?
What does it takes to be considered a hero? According to many, a hero is a person who is remembered and honored for his courageous life and deeds. A person distinguished for valor, fortitude or bold enterprise or anyone regarded as having displayed great courage or exceptionally noble qualities.
Most heroes we knew were dead. We have learned about them in schools. Tributes, monuments, statues, busts, memorials, paper bills, coinages, name of streets, towns, states, institutions, buildings and many others are constant reminders for us for their heroic deeds.
Most of the heroes we knew were leaders during times of wars, leaders who fought for independence (like George Washington, Simon Bolivar, etc.), there were only a few who didn’t actually engaged in battles (like Jose Rizal, Mahatma Gandhi, etc.), leaders who succeeded (if they failed they would had been declared bandits not heroes) in overthrowing a corrupt regime and many others.
Have you ever heard of an ordinary soldier who died fighting for his mother land or an ordinary citizen who did a courageous act declared as a hero? Maybe, for a day or two, after that they are totally forgotten. Did they put up a single monument for them? These unsung heroes who actually fought and died face to face with the enemies were easily forgotten. On the contrary, recognitions, tributes and venerations for leaders whom they declared heroes are never ending.
Now that we are at peace, (except in some places), how can one person be a hero? Aside from those who are working and sacrificing in foreign lands for the welfare of their families, for me, modern-day heroes are the likes of Aris, Rona, Chrisanta and Maria Fe. Who are these people? They are just ordinary people with nothing but unconditional love. I was so touched by their individual story that’s why I wanted to share it to everybody. Here are their brief heroic deeds that are worth remembering and emulating;
On January 30, 1994, Aris Espinosa, a 13-year-old boy from Lanao del Norte, Philippines, did something for his friends. A grenade on the ground was about to explode near the children, Aris quickly jumped and covered the grenade with his own body. The children were saved by the courageous and unselfish act of Aris. I am sure that his soul rest in peace with the Lord in Heaven.
Nueva Ecija, the largest province in Central Luzon, is a historic province with colorful and remarkable festivals. This province, with 5 cities and 27 municipalities, has diverse cultural traditions that became significant part of Novo Ecijanos culture and tradition.
Here are some of the most famous festivals in Nueva Ecija
Araquio Festival – Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija
Araquio Festival is a unique and one of its kinds in the Philippines. This festival is Nueva Ecija’s very own theatrical-cum-religious presentation similar to “zarzuelas” during the Spanish regime in the country. The Araquio Festival is traditionally held in the month of May in the town of Peñaranda. The festival dramatized the spread of Christianity in the country and the war between Christians and Muslims. Festival performers, 16 performers in each Araquio group, sing, act and dance while a brass band plays. The choice of songs and choreography varies, but the script has remained the same since the tradition started.
Baybayanting is a unique cultural presentation of Lupaoenios presented every 25th of July in honor of their patron – Saint James or Señor Santiago.
This peculiar cultural tradition is presented every year by selected members of Iglesia Filipina Independiente, a Christian sect founded by a Filipino priest. Baybayanting is a choreograph fighting which is usually performed by 9 pairs of fighting Filipino warriors and Spanish conquistadores.
Performers are using real bolo and a unique type of elongated shield. One can actually see sparks of these bladed weapons as they strike each other making spectators get up to their feet while screaming.
One of the highlights of this presentation is the interference once in a while amidst fighting warriors of a woman carrying his little baby begging for them to stop fighting.
Opposing fighters are determined by the color of their costumes. Spanish warriors wear headdress while Filipino warriors wear Filipino traditional hat made of anahaw leaves.
The town of Lupao is located in the northern part of the province of Nueva Ecija in Central Luzon. This small and thriving municipality is situated on the foot of the Caraballo Mountains. It is bounded by Umingan, Pangasinan on the north, by San Jose City on the south, by the mountainous town of Carranglan in the east and by the Science City of Muñoz and Talugtog town in the west
(All photos courtesy of Dra. Blaise Sheryl A. Soriano)
Unusual marriage ceremonies of some cultural minorities.
All couples want their wedding to be as unique and memorable as possible. But in spite of all the lavishness and drama of the weddings they all seem to be the same. Which makes you wonder how weddings are done in other cultures?
The Tausug of Mindanao
The Tausug of Mindanao is an ethnic tribe that has a bizarre marriage rite. They can marry as many as they want. Polygamy is allowed in their culture. Sounds like nothing unusual. Here’s the peculiar part, a Tausug man can abduct a woman for a wife and the marriage is considered binding and legal.