Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Viva San Clemente! Higantes Festival 2010

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For more photos of Higantes Festival 2010, pls. visit my Facebook album by clicking this link Viva San Clemente! Higantes Festival 2010.

Higantes Festival was actually my first attempt to cover a festival (in the year 2009). This year I went back to Angono to once again celebrate the festival and the reason behind the existence of Bak-paker's Adventures.

Higantes Festival was originally known as the Feast of St. Clement or San Clemente as fondly known by the locals of Angono. Historically, these big paper mache images were made in protest to the Spanish hacienderos who once owned Angono when it was used to be a hacienda. Though it has no relevance with the feast of St. Clement, Higantes Festival is now incorporated with the latter. The festival is celebrated every 23rd of November.

Even before the sun rises, locals are already awake. Some ready themselves to go to church for the first mass for St. Clement, others came from merry making that lasted the wee hours of the night, and majority are just excited to celebrate the HIGANTES Festival.

The festival is celebrated with the parade of the Higantes (giant paper mache images), followed by the Paheradoras (majorettes) from different barangays, and procession of the images of San Celemente (town and fishermen’s patron), San Isidro Labrador (patron of farmers), and the Holy Mother, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. The streets become wet for locals douse water over people joining the parade or procession or just on anyone who will fall onto their traps.

All will lead to the banks of Laguna de Bay where the images will be ridden in a pagoda. A solemn fluvial procession known as palusong will now take place. Fishermen offer fishes to San Clemente as a form of thanksgiving for a bountiful catch. In the pagoda, devotees offer novenas to San Clemente. Others continue to douse water and upon reaching the bank once more, known as paahon, devotees sing to high heavens the hymn of their beloved San Clemente.

Trivia: During the pasulong, devotees march their way going to the banks of Laguna de Bay for the fluvial procession. During this time, people are being doused by water. The paahon, which is after the fluvial procession, they throw mud instead of water. So, prepare to get wet and muddy! :p

Travel and Coverage Tips:
- In this festival, expect to get wet!
- For journalists and photographers, protect your cameras. You'll never know when they'll attack you with water and/or mud. ;p
- Bring towel and extra shirt.
- Secure all your belongings.
- This is also a merry making festival. You'll surely see drinking sessions at every corner of the streets. Sometimes, you'll be invited by these people to take a shot of gin or rum as a form of pakikisama. If you're a drinker, a shot won't hurt. But if you're not, avoid these people for they'll be offended if you reject their invitation.

Getting to Angono is easy...
At EDSA Central, there are vans, FX, or jeep that will bring you directly to Angono. Alight at the town's market and hire a tricycle that will bring you to your destination. Fare is very minimal, P10.

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