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Pampanga

Angeles City Lenten Rites
Date Good Friday
Venue Angeles City, Pampanga
Description The streets of Angeles City, in a tiny village called Lourdes North West (LNW), are kept busy during Good Friday when some five to ten penitents perform their annual vow of penitence by having themselves nailed to the cross in a makeshift 'golgotha' nearby. The commemoration starts at about 1:00 in the afternoon under the sweltering heat of the noonday sun with the reenactment of the arrest of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemani. Selected residents dressed as Roman centurions astride horses scour the length and breadth of the neighborhood to clamp down on their 'suspect'. When the arrest is perfected, the dramatization of Christ's passion and death is played through the streets up to the calvary where the actual crucifixion takes place before 3:00 in the afternoon.
Contact Person Brgy Chairman Enriquez
Tel. No. (63 45) 625-8790/0919-862-9611

Apo Fiesta
Date Last Sunday of October
Venue Angeles City, Pampanga
Description Celebration begin with several masses at the Holy Rosary parish church after which the Faithful kiss the feet of the Image of the Reclining Christ. A procession in honor of Christ Jesus followed by an entourage of carozas is held close to sunset.
Contact Person Ethel Galang
Tel. No. (63 45) 322-0507/892-2212/2213 loc 195

Blasting of Judas Iscariot
Date Easter Sunday, 12 noon
Venue In front of Sto. Tomas Parish Church, Sto. Tomas, Pampanga
Description While tourists crowd in Brgy. San Pedro Cutud in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga to witness the true-to-life crucifixion of several Kristos on Good Friday, townsfolk in all seven barangays of Sto. Tomas, Pampanga converge and witness their generations-old, more colorful, non-bloody tradition focusing largely on blasting a paper-mache effigy of Judas Iscariot and the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Blasting the effigy is a dramatic process. Four paper mache black ravens, positioned on the ground at four corners of the poles, are the first ones to be ignited. The ravens are then propelled towards Judas' post where the fireworks explode. The effigy turns several times with its tongue sticking out before the fireworks explode starting from the feet. The loudest explosion takes place in the head of the effigy. The blasting is preceded by a procession at 5:00 a.m. highlighted only by the so-called Salubong or the meeting of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Risen Christ, and ends at 11:00 a.m. before the Judas ceremony happens at 12:00 noon. Many local folk believe that loud explosion presages bountiful harvests from their farmlands or fishing grounds. (credit: Journalist Bong Lacson, Angeles Observer, 04/22-29/06)
Contact Person Romy Nucum (Municipal Tourism Officer)
Tel. No. (63 45) 877-1084 / 0917-962-9266

Related Article:

MALELDO (by Bong Lacson)
Traditional observance of the Holy Week in Sto. Tomas, Pampanga

A contraction of mal a aldo – directly translating to a highly-valued, hence, holy day – has evolved to the one word comprising the Holy Week and all its rituals. Maleldo is intertwined with kaleldo – summer, the season when it is celebrated.

The etymology of Maleldo is easy enough to explain. The rituals and practices exclusive to the town of Sto. Tomas are a different thing.

In the absence of written history, the oral tradition – kuwento ni lola – is the only source of information on the rituals of Maleldo.

From the Canlas sisters – Apung Mameng (1898-1976) who remained unmarried, Apung Rita vda de Zapata (1901-1980), Apung Bibang vda de Manese (1903-1978) – came the information written here, passed on to them by their mother Demetria Pineda-Canlas (1860s-1952).

“Ding apu nang ima mi mig-sagala na la kanu king Maleldo (The grandmothers of our mother had joined the Holy Week religious processions in their finest costumes). The three sisters were wont to tell their inquisitive grandchildren at the time.

Holy Week in Sto. Tomas starts with Viernes Dolores the Friday before Palm Sunday. This was later moved to Sabado Dolores. The change came in the late ‘60s or early ‘70s – somewhere at the tail end of the Cursillo Movement – to circumvent the rigid abstinence of no-meat-on-the-Fridays-of-Lent.

A triumvirate of women handles the activities: the hermana mayora, the mayordoma, and the secretaria. The three fetch the image of the Mater Dolorosa from the house of the camadera in Barangay San Bartolome and head the procession to the parish church on Viernes Dolores.

Sabado Dolores starts with a morning Mass followed by a breakfast – courtesy of the secretaria – for the Mass-goers on the church grounds.

At lunchtime, presided by the hermana, the saladoras -- a groups comprising of previous hermanas, mayordomas, secretarias, as well as descendants of those who served as such but have long been gone – gather to choose the successors to the three oficiales.

Choice per position is through bola suerte. The candidates per position are nominated. Then the drawing of the lot begins. Two jars are used: one contains rolled pieces of paper in which are written the names of the candidates; the other, rolled papers commensurate to the number of candidates – all blank but for one with the word suerte. The name of the candidate drawn from the first jar that matches with the suerte from the second jar becomes the hermana, mayordoma or secretaria.

In the evening, the image of the Mater Dolorosa is venerated in a procession around the Poblacion with the hermana and her court, escorted by their husbands, preceding the carro.

The procession marks the debut appearance of the estabats – 12 young lasses that make a choir, accompanied by a manggirigi – a violinist – as they sing hymns to the Blessed Virgin.

The estabats are so called after the opening lines of their Latin hymn “stabat Mater Dolorosa…” roughly translated to “the sorrowful Mother was standing…”

Supervision of the Holy Week celebrations shifts from the hermana to a Holy Week Executive Committee after Sabado Dolores. The committee chair is selected each year and is given a free hand to choose his officers and members.

Domingo de Ramos – Palm Sunday – comes with the traditional blessing of palms and olive branches in a barrio chapel – alternately in San Bartolome and San Vicente – followed by a procession to the parish church with the parish priest taking the role of Christ on the way to Jerusalem accompanied by 12 men acting and dressed in the role of the 12 Apostles.

At the four corners of the churchyard or the street fronting the church stand kubu-kubuan -- nipa stalls – where choir members sing hosannas and shower the priest with petals and confetti. The celebration ends with a Mass.

Lunes Santo and Martes Santo were quiet days. Until the cenaculo or singing of the Passion of Christ in the vernacular was moved to Martes Santo and Miercoles Santo.

Originally, the cenaculo was held on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. In the ‘70s, it was moved to Holy Wednesday and Maundy Thursday to give full contemplation on the suffering and death of Christ on Good Friday. Sometime later it was moved further to the day it is now observed.

Traditionally, the cenaculo is an affair of the youth. A president from each gender gets elected to chair the festivity which comprises the singing of the Pasyon and the serving of – variably, depending on the collections – ice cream and barquillos or kalame (native rice cakes). Of late, the word cenaculo has given way to the Tagalog pabasa. A more appropriate term, so the purists hold, given that a cenaculo goes beyond the mere singing of the Pasyon to include a play or drama on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ.

The second procession of the week takes place in the evening of Miercoles Santo. Here, images of the saints who had had participation in the days prior to the crucifixion as well as those depicting the suffering of Christ are put on decorated carros with St. Peter, bearer of the keys to heaven with his ubiquitous white rooster at the lead, followed by Sts. John the Evangelist, Thomas, Bartholomew, James, Andrew, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and the images of Christ being scourged at the pillar and the Nazareno, Jesus carrying the cross, followed by the living apostoles.

The image of Mater Dolorosa takes the rear, preceded by the estabats and followed by the brass band.

In between the carros walk the rosary-praying cofradias and church organizations and the camaderas, the owners or caretakers of the images.

Maundy Thursday marks the observance of the washing of the feet of the apostles and the Last Supper. The parish priest is assisted by the Holy Week Committee chair and officers during the foot-washing rites.

After the ceremonies, the parish priest and the apostoles take their own supper at the parish rectory and partake of the cordero, a dish of beef covered with potatoes shaped like a lamb.

Rites and ceremonies for Good Friday start shortly after noon with the Las Siete Palabras, homilies and meditation on the seven final utterances of Christ at Calvary, which end at 3:00 in the afternoon, traditionally believed as the hour of Christ’s death.

Tanggal, a dramatization in song and verse of Christ’s body being taken down from the cross, used to follow the Las Siete Palabras. The last staging of tanggal was held in 1979.

Taking centerstage in the Good Friday procession is the image of the Santo Entierro. It has become a tradition of the faithful to pluck out all the flowers decked in the carro as soon as it enters the church after the procession. Some claim miraculous attributes to the flowers.

At the procession, the estabats sing mournful hymns and dirges in reflection of the pain and anguish suffered by the Mater Dolorosa – the image now dressed in black and its head replaced with one in tears – over the death of her Son.

Sabado de Gloria is highlighted by the evening Mass with the blessing of the fire and water as well as the renewal of the faithful’s baptismal vows.

Domingo de Pascua – Easter Sunday – marks the climax of the celebrations in ways more than spiritual, folk art, aesthetics, socials melding into it.
Before 6:00 in the morning, the faithful gather at the churchyard for the salubong, the first meeting between the Risen Christ and the Blessed Mother.

Under a pusu-puso, a veiled image of the Virgin Mary faces – behind a curtain – the image of the Risen Christ. The pusu-puso opens in layers gradually, raining in petals and confetti on the images. At its final opening, doves fly out and a young girl dressed as an angel comes out in a kalo, an improvised swing, singing “Regina laetare, alleluia” (Joy to the queen, alleluia) as she is lowered down to take the veil off the Blessed Mother. At this, the curtain parts, the brass band plays and the faithful applaud to mark the start of the Easter procession.

At the lead of the procession are the ciriales, bearers of the ceremonial
cross and candles in the person of three ladies in their fineries with their escorts in barong Tagalog. They are followed by the banderada, bearer of the Vatican flag.
Sometime in the ‘80s, mini-sagalas were introduced. These are little girls dressed as angels to accompany the incensario, the bearer of the icnenser and the incense boat, and the angel who took the veil off the face of the Blessed Mother.

Next come the estabats, singing glorious hymns and raining petals on the Atlung Maria (Three Marys) at designated stops along the processional route.

The Atlung Maria symbolize the Virgin Mother, Mary Magdalene and Mary Cleofas. By tradition, the center – the spot of the Virgin – is reserved for the most beautiful of the three sagalas. It is thus a most coveted spot. Sagalas for the Atlung Maria are exclusive to ladies born and bred in Sto. Tomas, or those whose ancestors can be traced to the town. In the social milieu, no lady from the town is truly beautiful unless she has been one of the Atlung Maria.

With the Atlung Maria is the ciro pascual, the bearer of the paschal candle, always a local bachelor or one whose bloodline comes from the town.
The images of the Risen Christ and the Blessed Mother bring the rear of the procession which ends with a High Mass.

After the Mass or by high noon, the faithful congregate anew at the churchyard for the burning – exploding is more apt here – of the effigy of Judas Iscariot.

Atop a scaffolding, “Judas” is ignited by pyrotechnic ravens and then twists, turns upside down, rotates and starts exploding from the legs up the arms, the body, and finally the head with the loudest bang.

When Sto. Tomas was still a farming town, the loudness of the bang ending “Judas” was deemed a sign of the volume of the year’s harvest: the louder the bang, the higher the yield.

Lost in some vengeful glee among the faithful is the meaning behind the burning of Judas: That spiritually renewed with the fire and water of Sabado de Gloria , restored in grace with the Risen Christ, the faithful should cast away all vestiges of sin, of spiritual shortcomings with Judas and burn them. This is no less a form of a holocaust offered to God. That which makes the very essence of the Holy Week celebrations. (Bong Z. Lacson writes a daily column, Zona Libre, for Punto! Gitnang Luzon. He is chair of the Society of Pampanga Columnists.)

Cutud Lenten Rites (Malaldo)
Date Good Friday, 12 noon
Venue Brgy. San Pedro Cutud, City of San Fernando, Pampanga
HISTORY
The re-enactment of Christ's crucifixion that is practiced each year in the City of San Fernando originated in 1955 with the staging of Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), the only Kapampangan piece on the passion of the Christ written by an amateur, Ricardo Navarro. It was first performed during the Holy Week (in 1955) by an amateur volunteer artists of Barangay (barrio) San Pedro Cutud, who like the rest of the Filipinos during that period, had time on their hands because work or exertion on those holy days was taboo. It was only in 1962 that the barangay first witnessed an actual crucifixion during the play. The Christ was potrayed by Artemio Anoza, a resident of nearby Apalit town and a quack doctor who dreamt that he would become a religious leader and full-fledged healer. Wanting to realize this dream, he volunteered himself to be crucified as a sacrifice. Since then, not a year passed without an actual crucifixion taking place during the re-enactment that has now been joined in by many penitents as a 'panata'¯or vow of sacrifice (In 2011, 24 Filipinos were nailed to the cross; the most number of crucifixions since the ritual started in 1950s). In 1965, the role players and the penitents were invited to perform the sacrifice outside the barangay, this time in Betis, Guagua. The occasion caught national interest and subsequently became an international tourist attraction. Through the years, Rolando Navarro passed on the family tradition he began to his son Ricardo and then to his grandson Allan Navarro who is the present director of the street play Via Crucis. Nowadays, more than 200 cross-bearers and some 3,000 "mandarame" (men who whip their backs with bamboo stick called "burilyos") converge in Cutud's Calvary every Good Friday.

ABOUT THE TRADITION
The Philippines is Southeast Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation with a rich cultural heritage that is steeped in tradition. One of these Filipino practices is the observance of Lent and the Holy Week that, for Catholics, is a time for atonement and sacrifice.For Filipinos in Pampanga, the observance is characterized by the senakulo or pabasa which is the chanting of the passion of Christ as read from a book that locals call Pasyon. Other penitents called magdarame (flagellants) carry wooden crosses, crawl on rough pavements and slash their backs before whipping themselves to draw blood, to ask for forgiveness of sins committed, to fulfill religious vows (panata), or to express gratitude for favors granted. On Good Friday each year, in the City of San Fernando, particularly in Barangay San Pedro Cutud, thousands flock to witness the world-renowned crucifixion that is reenacted on a man-made hill after two-hour street play, Via Crucis is performed as it has been done for the past 50 years. Contrary to the Catholic Church's teachings and the commercialization of the event, the fervor for the tradition stays, with the townsfolk sticking to their faith and spiritual practice, constantly remaining pure in their panata which continues to be a source of community solidarity and strength. (Credit: www.cityofsanfernando.gov.ph)

RELATED ARTICLES
An annual re-enactment of Christ's passion and death is done every Good Friday in Brgy San Pedro Cutud as well as in Sta. Lucia in the City of San Fernando. This dramatic re-enactment is complete with a passion play as performed by local residents and culminates at 12:00 noon with the actual crucifixion of a number of penitents on wooden crosses atop a makeshift calvary. Penitents perform their tradition in the hope of gaining favors from the Almighty. As the sun sets in late afternoon, elegant heirloom carrozas and santos are brought around the historic poblacion for the most solemn Good Friday traditional procession. The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ are relived to a degree it is hard to believe. On the morning of Good Friday there is a reenactment of the "Via Crucis" which is performed by local residents, fittingly clad in Roman centurion costumes and the peasants' garb of Biblical times. The reenactment starts between 10am and 11am after which the people move off to trek 4km to "Golgotha". Scores of penitents, inflicting self-flagellations using glass-spiked leather thongs on their bare backs, trail a "Christ", a Filippino penitent, who bears a heavy wooden cross during the trek. Upon arriving, the women kneel at the feet of the makeshift cavalry and wail a version of the Gospel of Seville Passion. At least five penitents per year, and sometimes more, are nailed to makeshift crosses by their hands and their feet. The agony of the spectacle brings thousands to the reenactment. It has even become something of a tourist attraction. To secularised Westerners it must appear barbaric, but for the penitents it is a way to become closer to God and the chance to truly test their faith. (Credit: www.britishairways.com)

Phil Daily Inquirer, April 16, 2011, by Tonette Orejas - Ruben Enaje, 50, a Kampangan and a painter, gets his hands and feet nailed to a cross every Good Friday for the last 24 years. He started doing this in 1986 after surviving a fall from a building. The nailing and convergence of flagellants, cross-bearers and street play reenacting the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) all happen on a replica of Calvary on San Pedro Cutud’s Purok Cuatro in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Some 30,000 to 80,000 foreign pilgrims and spectators witness this Lenten event every year.

Where before men tied themselves to the crosses after bearing these for days, faith-healer Artemio Anoza began real-life nailing in 1961 or 1962 when he played the part of Christ in the staging of the Via Crucis mounted by Ricardo Navarro that year. The play, staged first in 1955 and solely in the village, is continued by Navarro’s grandson, Allan.

PROPOSED ITINERARY (for Media groups)
FIRST DAY
Holy Wednesday, 9:00 a.m: Proceed to Brgy. San Pedro Cutud (San Fernando) for an interview or family immersion with a flagellant and Christ (prior arrangement is a MUST. ID passes for media must be secured from the local tourism office).

SECOND DAY
Maundy Thursday, whole day: Visit to the Pabasa (non-stop chanting of biblical verses) in different makeshift chapels either in the City of San Fernando or Angeles City. Witness the procession of flagellants along the way heading toward a chapel for their final journey and moment of prayer.

THIRD DAY
Good Friday, 7:00 a.m: Proceed to Brgy. San Pedro Cutud to witness the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross (a 51 year old street drama on the Passion of Christ written and performed by local residents). At 12:00 noon, join thousands of people to witness actual crucifixion of a host of 7 - 10 penitents. Optional visit to Brgy. Lourdes Northwest in Angeles City where another crucifixion takes place between 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

FOURTH DAY (optional)
Black Saturday, whole day: Shopping Kapampangan delicacies, arts and crafts in San Fernando, Betis, San Matias and Mexico.

FIFTH DAY (optional)
Easter Sunday, 4:00 a.m: Proceed to Sta. Maria Parish Church Balibago Angeles City to witness the most elaborate Salubong (A traditional religious event which portrays the meeting of Christ and His mother, Mary, after the resurrection in an elaborate drama participated in by local residents dressed as angels and different biblical characters) /

END OF TOUR

ITINERARY FOR THE DEVOTEES:

THINGS TO DO THIS HOLY WEEK
Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday

Palm Sunday. Start your Holy Week with a Mass as this day - referred to as Domingo de Ramos - comes with the traditional blessing of palms and olive branches followed by a procession to the parish church with the parish priest taking the role of Christ on the way to Jerusalem usually accompanied by 12 men acting and dressed in the role of the 12 Apostles. Traditionally, on the street fronting the church stand kubu-kubuan -- nipa stalls – where choir members sing hosannas and shower the priest with petals and confetti. The celebration ends with a Mass.

Holy Monday. Move around town to do the traditional Visita Iglesia or follow the Stations of the Cross.

Holy Tuesday. Move around town to do the traditional Visita Iglesia or follow the Stations of the Cross. Continue around town (by barangay) to witness the 'Pabasa' (non-stop chanting of biblical verses in the vernacular) in different makeshift altars or Cenakulo (a theatrical dramatization of Christ's passion translated from Spanish passion plays into the vernacular). Witness the procession of flagellants along the way heading toward a chapel for their final journey and moment of prayer.

Holy Wednesday. Move around town to do the traditional Visita Iglesia or follow the Stations of the Cross. Continue around town (by barangay) to witness the 'Pabasa' (non-stop chanting of biblical verses in the vernacular) in different makeshift altars. Witness the procession of flagellants along the way heading toward a chapel for their final journey and moment of prayer. The hermana mayor may serve snacks to those who have participated in the ritual and brought in the blessing of the Lord.

Maundy Thursday. Got to Mass as the day marks the observance of the washing of the feet of the apostles and the Last Supper. After the ceremonies, the parish priest and the apostles take their own supper at the parish rectory and partake of a meal.

Good Friday. Proceed to Brgy. San Pedro Cutud at 7:00 in the morning to witness the Via Crucis or Way of the Cross (a 51 year old street drama on the Passion of Christ written and performed by local residents). At 12:00 noon, join thousands of people to witness actual crucifixion of a host of 7 - 10 penitents. Or an optional visit to Brgy. Lourdes Northwest in Angeles City where another crucifixion takes place between 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. In churches all over, rites and ceremonies start shortly after noon with the Las Siete Palabras (Seven Last Words), homilies and meditation on the seven final utterances of Christ at Calvary, which end at 3:00 in the afternoon, traditionally believed as the hour of Christ’s death.

Black Saturday. Go shopping for Kapampangan delicacies, arts and crafts in San Fernando, Betis, San Matias and Mexico. Sabado de Gloria is highlighted by the evening Mass with the blessing of the fire and water as well as the renewal of the faithful’s baptismal vows.

Easter Sunday. At 8:00 in the morning, proceed to Sto. Tomas, Pampanga for a whole day festivity of religious events (salubong), street dancing (Sabuaga Festival), trade fair and variety shows including fireworks in the evening. Witness their Sabuaga Festival featuring a showering of petals on the image of the Virgin Mary. Petals and confetti will literally rain on the processional route around Poblacion, starting 2 p.m. as revelers join groups coming from the town’s seven barangays in street dancing. Or one may choose to go instead to any church to witness the most elaborate 'Salubong' at 6:00 in the morning (A traditional religious event which portrays the meeting of Christ and His mother, Mary, after the resurrection in an elaborate drama participated in by local residents dressed as angels and different biblical characters). The festivity usually culminates in a colorful fireworks display.

CONTACT INFORMATION
City of San Fernando Tourism Office
Contact Person Ma. Lourdes Carmela Jade "Ching" Pangilinan - City Tourism Officer
Address Office of the Mayor, Consunji St., City of San Fernando
Phone (63 45) 961-8722 / 5684
Email sanfernandotourism@yahoo.com / mlcjdp@yahoo.com
Website www.cityofsanfernando.gov.ph
Contact Person Remigio dela Cruz (Barangay Chairman)
Mobile 0919-538-6976 (Chmn dela Cruz)

Fiestang Apu Procession
Date Last Friday of October
Venue Angeles City
Description A religious procession in honor of Apung Mamacalulu (the unrisen Jesus Christ or Lord of the Holy Sepulchre) whose feastday always falls on the last Friday of October. The devotion began in 1897 after a local resident attributed to Apu his miraculous escape from the local Spanish cazadores. The celebration of the feastday, preceded by a Quinario or five-day novena, in holy dedication to His Five Wounds, the wounds of Jesus Christ, was conducted to safeguard the town of Angeles from evil times and disasters. The procession features holy images and carros from the early 1800s. (Source: Marco Nepomuceno, The Camalig Denizen at www.camalig.com)

Fiestang Kuliat
Date Oct 1 - Oct 31
Venue Angeles City, Pampanga
Description A month-long celebration of the twin fiestas of Angeles City, namely La Naval and Fiestang Apu, the event features various cultural events, social missions, special shows like car exhibits, beauty pageant, tourism and trade fair cum exhibits, street dancing parade with various sectors, schools and government agencies participating. The celebration is highlighted by the annual Tigtigan at Terakan Keng Dalan.
Contact Person Ethel Galang
Tel. No. (63 45) 322-0507/892-2212/2213 loc 195

Flores the Mayo
Date May 1 - 30
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description First introduced by the Spanish friars in 1854, and ten years after blossomed in the various towns of Bulacan, Laguna, Batangas and Pampanga, the May devotion, also known as Flores de Mayo, is celebrated in the entire month of May when organizations like Daughters of Isabela, Knights of Columbus, Solidarity and Adoracion Nocturna, offer flowers to the Virgin Mary. The grand feast of the event is reserved for the last Sunday of the month when Mass is said and the image is led in a procession around town. Women who joined the procession wore blue saya and white veils made by local couturiers. The virgin is usually put under neoclassic arches, called kubol. Young men in barong Tagalog fetch and escort the girls in long gowns towards the church. Today, the celebration is combined with the traditional Santakruzan.
Contact Person Department of Tourism - Region III
Tel. No. (63 45) 961-2665/2612

Independence Day Celebration of 1899
Date June 12
Venue Pamintuan House, Angeles City
Celebration of the First Anniversary of of the Philippine Independence held in Angeles City. As the crowd of troops and townspeople converged on June 12, 1899 at the grounds of presidential palace (Pamintuan House), then President Emilio Aguinaldo unfurled and waved the original Filipino flag and then delivered his moving independence anniversary speech. Since the seat of the Philippine Republic was then situated at the presidential palace, the president issued a presidential decree granting pardon to military deserters and to all those accused of misdemeanors for which the maximum penalty was imprisonment. The event in Angeles City is a reenactment of that celebration in 1899.

Jose Abad Santos Day
Date May 7
Venue City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Description The entire province of Pampanga remembers the patriotism of one of the City of San Fernando's illustrious sons, Chief Justice Jose B. Abad Santos, who was martyred by firing squad in Malabang, Lanao on May 7, 1942 by the Japanese for his refusal to pay allegiance to the Japanese flag. He is remembered for his famous words, "It is a rare opportunity to die for one's country. Not every Filipino is given this chance."

Related Article:
Source: DP Limlingan, Sunstar Pampanga, May 7, 2008

Jose Abad Santos was born in City of San Fernando, Pampanga to Vicente Abad Santos and Toribia Basco. He was the seventh child of 10 children.

His eldest brother, Assemblyman Pedro Abad Santos was the founder of the Socialist Party of the Philippines and a well-known defender of the "poor and the oppressed".

His other siblings were Emilia, Irineo, Escolastica, Antonio, Josefa, Quirino, Salvador and Catalina.

Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos completed his elementary education in the public schools of his hometown, San Fernando, Pampanga.

In 1904, while still a high school undergraduate, the Philippine government selected him as a government-sponsored scholar and sent him to the United States for further education.

He completed his general secondary education school in Santa Clara, California and earned a Bachelor of Laws degree in June 1908 at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

A year after, he received his Master of Laws degree from George Washington University in the capital city of Washington DC in the United States of America.

Returning to the Philippines, he passed the Philippine Bar Examination and commenced his law practice in October 1911. In April 1919, the Supreme Court of the United States of America licensed him to practice law in the United States.

He was among the greatest legal luminaries of the Philippines. After completing his law studies in the United States as a government-sponsored scholar he was also assigned for a few years in the Department of Justice (DOJ).

He was appointed later as the first Filipino corporate lawyer of the Philippine National Bank (PNB), Manila Railroad and other government corporations.

Moving on his professional career, he was recalled at the DOJ as Attorney-General then to the position of Secretary of Justice.

In recognition of the brilliance and dedication to government service of Secretary Jose Abad Santos, President Manuel Quezon of the Philippine Commonwealth appointed him later as Justice in the Supreme Court (SC) and eventually as Chief Justice of the SC.

At the outbreak of World War II, President Quezon temporarily moved the seat of the Philippine government to the USA. Together with Vice President Sergio Osmena and other Cabinet members they escaped by submarine from the invading Japanese Imperial Forces as General Douglas MacArthur transferred his general headquarters to Australia to re-organize the Allied Forces.

Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos chose to remain in the Philippines as caretaker of the National Government administration in the Philippines.

The Japanese Military Command repeatedly approached him to make him pledge allegiance to Japan and to the Japanese flag but he did not swear in. A Japanese colonel and his troops overtook him in Lanao and he was told that he would be shot to death if he would not swear allegiance to the Japanese flag. He did not comply with the request of the Japanese so he was executed on May 7, 1942 in Malabang, Lanao del Sur in Mindanao.

Before he was shot to death, he was able to talk to his young son, Jose Jr. and his last parting words were "Do not cry Jr., show to these people that you are brave. It is an honor to die for one's country. Not everybody has that chance."

Contact Person City of San Fernando Tourism Office, Tel. No. (63 45) 961-5684/ 3328 loc 211

La Naval Fiesta
Date 2nd sunday of October
Venue Angeles City, Pampanga
Description The event is in commemoration of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary whose intercession saw the victory of the Spanish fleet over the Dutch invaders. Angeles City celebrates this fiesta with typical religious programs and Filipino homes display the finest traditions of hospitality in entertaining guests with the finest food and drinks.
Contact Person Ethel Galang
Tel. No. (63 45) 322-0507/892-2212/2213 loc 195

Lubenas
Date December 16-24
Venue Nationwide
Lubenas is a unique and quaint tradition where a procession of lit lanterns is held for the nine consecutive nights before Christmas (December 16-24), which is also the same period for the simbang gabi (dawn mass). The reason people do the lubenas is the same reason they do the simbang gabi - to mortify the flesh in preparation for the nativity of Christ. It’s no easy task, after all, to stay up late for the lubenas and then wake up early for the simbang bengi. (Our Kapampangan ancestors learned this from their strict Spanish cura parroco.) Source: Robby Tantingco, Center for Kapampanga Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City

 

Pampanga

Maitinis Festival
A religious Christmas lantern procession held every Christmas Eve, Maitinis is one tradition that has survived in a few Pampanga towns that include Mabalacat. The barangay patrons are processioned, accompanied by lanterns and choirs singing 'Dios Te Salve'. The prusiyon ends in the church courtyard, and prizes are given away to the Best Lantern, Carroza, Delegation, etc.

Misa de Gallo (Dawn Mass)
Date Dec 16 - 24
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description The smell of charcoal-baked bibingka and puto bumbong (traditional rice cakes) ushers in the celebration of the Dawn Mass or Misa de Gallo when Catholics all over the country wake up at dawn, dressed in their finest, and flock to the church to hear mass on the first day of a 9-day novena which culminates on Christmas eve. With church bells ringing at 4:00 a.m. on December 16, the whole country officially starts the world's longest Christmas season with a Misa de Gallo which literally means "Mass of the Rooster." It was said to have been introduced in the country by a Spanish friar in the 18th century as thanksgiving Mass for a bountiful harvest. The Mass was held at dawn so to allow farmers to go to work after the ceremony. The priest also scheduled the end of the novena to coincide with the "Noche Buena" celebration during Christmas eve. In earlier days, a brass band played Christmas music around town while priests knocked on doors to wake up the faithful in time for Mass. Today, while still called dawn Mass, the rite has undergone changes and sometimes even held at night. Of course, the tradition is not complete without the feast of native delicacies, such as charcoal-baked bibingka (rice cake), puto bumbong and salabat (ginger tea), that can be bought from stalls that usually line church courtyards. The tradition is a significant moment not only because it strengthens relationships among family members but also because it is the time where faith is intensified (Source: Phil. Daily Inquirer, Dec 17, 2004 issue). RELATED INFORMATION: In Mabalacat, Pampanga, the parish choir still performs the so-called pastorella, a colonial-era collection of church hymns sung only during this time of the year - all performed with violins and operatic flourish. It is said that Mabalacat is the only place where they keep the pastorella alive.

Pabasa
Date Holy Week
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description Everyday during Holy Week until Maundy Thursday, groups of old women and a scattering of men and younger people gather to sing the life story of Jesus Christ - as read from an ancient book called 'Pasyong Genesis' - in makeshift altar built in the town's side streets or in private homes or village chapel. The devout among the participants in this melodic vernacular chanting are there to fulfill a vow like the quick recovery of a sick or ailing relative. The singing is paced so that the entire book is read out by Maundy Thursday. The book narrates in verse form the story of Chirst from nativity to His crucifixion and resurrection. In addition, it contains some stories from the Bible, such as the creation of the world (or genesis), the deluge, and the apocalypse. The churches then take over with the rendering of the Seven Last Words on Good Friday. The hermana mayor, the sponsor of the Pabasa, may serve more than snacks to those who have participated in the ritual and brought in the blessing of the Lord(Credits: Filipino Heritage: The Making of a Nation).
Contact Person Department of Tourism - Region III
Tel. No. (63 45) 961-2665/2612

Pampanga Day / Aldo ning Kapampangan
Date Dec 11
Venue City of San Fernando, Pampanga
Description The province of Pampanga celebrates its official founding in 1571 as the first province of Luzon on December 11 every year. The annual celebration is called "ALDO NING KAPAMPANGAN" which features a weeklong event such as tourism and trade fair, cultural performances and the annual awarding ceremony called Most Outstanding Kapampangan for the benefit of local personalities who distinguish themselves in various fields of interest. Among the highlights of the celebration is the holding of the grand Sinukwan Festival - a street-dancing parade and competition among various schools, institutions and other sponsors.
Contact Person Ian Mejia (provincial tourism officer)
Tel. No. (63 45) 961-1780/861-2609
Email wacky_ian12@yahoo.com
Position Provincial Tourism Officer
Website www.pampanga.gov.ph

Panata
Date Holy Week
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description During Holy Week, the streets are alive with people who demonstrate their vows of repentance, or 'panata'. There are different ways of keeping this vow. Some take part in the Sinakulo, a theatrical dramatization of Christ's passion translated from Spanish passion plays into the vernacular. Others go through self-flagellation. These are the flagellantes who have promised to go through this ordeal to repent for their sins, or as a sacrificial act in thanksgiving for a favor granted or favor requested. Another form of penitence is having oneself hung from the cross. In some places like in Brgy. San Pedro Cutud, City of San Fernando, Pampanga, some persons are actually nailed to the cross. The penitent usually lives through this ordeal, but many of them lose consciousness from excruciating pain. Others are simply tied to the cross (Credits: Filway's Philippine Almanac).
Contact Person Department of Tourism - RIII
Tel. No. (63 45) 961-2665/2612

Salubong
Date Easter Sunday
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description Usually held after the 5:00 a.m. mass, just about the crack of dawn of Easter Sunday, or a day before, two processions leave the church and converge at a central point marked by a huge four-posted roof with a vertical clearance of about three meters, called the 'galilea'. In a procession called 'pasko ng salubong', the meeting of the Risen Christ and His mother on Easter morning is dramatized. The moment when Christ meets His mother is called 'pagbati.' At the center of the galilea, right above the point where the images are to meet, is a huge heart of flowers with four opening points. Inside is a pretty little girl dressed as an angel who will then perform the traditional unveiling of the Blessed Mother, symbolizing the end of her mourning as she stands face to face with the Risen Christ. The festivity usually culminates in a colorful fireworks display. (Credits: Filway's Philippine Almanac)
Contact Person Department of Tourism - RIII
Tel. No. (63 45) 961-2665/2612

Semana Santa (Holy Week)
Date Holy Week
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description A week-long event honoring Jesus Christ's death on the Cross. The Palm Sunday is held on the fifth Sunday of Lent where churchgoers bring palm and leaves to re-enact the arrival of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem. Holy Thursday is held with a Visita Iglesia where Catholics visit at least 7 churches. A "Pasyon" or narration of Christ's life through singing is held. On Good Friday, believers re-enact the sufferings and death of Christ on the Cross. Easter Sunday is highlighted by "Salubong" or dawn processions held in various parts of the country. (Credits: NCCA) In colorful and dramatic rituals, Catholic Filipinos join the entire Christendom in the observance of Holy Week, or Semana Santa. Some of the rituals bear touches of Spanish and Mexican influences and are espoused by the church; some seem to be rooted in the deep, fanatical, and traditional fervor of the penitent to atone for their sins. Although the basic rituals are practiced all over the archipelago, variations do occur depending on the parish, town, or people concerned. Some of the rituals include: Kumpisal ng Bayan (confession of the town), Palaspas (Palm Sunday), Pabasa (chanting of Christ's passion), Via Dolorosa (procession of holy images), Via Crucis (Way of the Cross), Visita Iglesia (church visit), and Paghuhugas (Washing of the Apostles' Feet). (Credits: Filway's Philippine Almanac)

Serenata
Date December 29
Venue Betis, Guagua, Pampanga
A charming Kapampangan folk tradition where two or three local brass bands try to outdo each other by alternately playing tunes until the wee hours. Some of the musical pieces they play come from classical Italian operas taught to them by the early Thomasites. Source: Robby Tantingco, Holy Angel University, Angeles City

Sinakulo
Date Holy Week
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description The Sinakulo, as a Lenten play of the life, passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, took root in the first decade of the 18th century during Spanish occupation. The play is actually nothing but a dramatization of the Pabasa, characterized only by long stretches of dialogue between Christ, Mary and other important characters. It is usually staged from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday in many barrios in makeshift platforms (today it is held on Holy Monday to Maundy Thursday). It originally opens with the creation of the world and ending with the triumphant coronation of the Virgin in heaven - as culled from the book called Pasyong Genesis. A shorter version features the agony of Christ in the garden to the crucifixion. Contact Person Department of Tourism - Region III, Tel. No. (63 45) 961-2665/2612

Sisig Festival
Date December 2 - 3
Venue Angeles City, Pampanga
Description The Giant Sisig Festival in Angeles City scores a culinary and gastronomic feat as it introduces in 2005 176 ways of cooking the much-loved, pre-colonial Kapampangan dish (the number stands for the 176th founding anniversary of the city). A variety of Sisig entries weighing 600 kilograms slumped on a giant plate measuring 16'x32' are displayed before more than 20,000 spectators at the Nepo Mart grounds. The popular classical dish is usually a concoction of boiled and chopped pig ears and cheeks seasoned with vinegar, calamansi juice, chopped onions and chicken liver (more likely served in sizzling plates). It was Aling Lucing's, owned by 'sisig queen' Lucita Cunanan, that established the city as the Sigig capital in the country way back in 1974. Today, a variety of preparations include sisig ala pizzailo, pork combination, green mussels or tahong, mixed seafood, ostrich sisig, spicy python, frog sisig, Tokwa't Baboy, among other dishes. No drinking session or family dinner is complete without the sisig and it is now a centerpiece of local social functions. From a pregnant woman's snack of unripe sour fruits in the olden days to a bar chow and family viand in recent decades, sisig has truly gone a long way. Other activiies include: dance competition, body painting, Kite Team exhibition, motor bike show, Volkswagen show, street parade, etc. (Credits: Phil. Daily Inquirer, column by Tonette Orejas, Dec. 5, 2005) . For further details, pls visit Angeles City Tourism Office, Tel. No. (63 45) 322- 0507/892-2212/2213 loc 195

RELATED ARTICLE:

Death and sisig
By Robby Tantingco

The first time that sisig was ever recorded in history was in 1732, in a Kapampangan dictionary compiled by an Augustinian friar, Diego Bergańo. (The Spanish missionary served as parish priest of Mexico, Pampanga in 1725-1731, where he most likely encountered the dish.)

In his dictionary, Bergańo defines sisig as a "salad, including green papaya, or green guava eaten with a dressing of salt, pepper, garlic and vinegar." "Manyisig" means "to make salad" while "mapanisig" is "one who makes a lot of salad, or frequently eats salad, or picks tidbits of it."

The sisig of our ancestors is the equivalent of our vegetarian salad today, no meat, just green fruit soured further with vinegar, tempered with salt and spiced with pepper and garlic. They probably ate it as a regular side dish ("tiltilan") , and maybe as cure for nausea.

It's quite possible that the word "sigang"—that sour soup dish so popular among Filipinos and other Southeast Asians—came from the contraction of "sisigan" ("to make it sour"). In ancient times, sigang was the easiest complete meal to prepare; even fishermen who went out to sea for days probably carried with them basic cooking implements so they could cook "sigang" right there on their boats. It was all too easy to prepare: they just boiled water in a pot, threw in anything they'd caught (clam, shrimp, fish, bird or fowl), and added any green fruit (santol, guava, tamarind, kamias, mango, citrus, tomatoes, and any pickings from trees growing in mangroves and forests).

Over the years, sisig evolved from being just a salad to being main dish, when our ancestors started putting meat in it, like pig's ears and pig's cheeks. That's the sisig I came to know as a child, back in Mabalacat. My mother boiled pig's ears and jowl, chopped and minced them and then mixed in chicken liver and pig's brain and of course onion, salt, pepper and calamansi. The sound of the crunchy cartilages between my teeth and the soft mayonnaise-like texture of liver and brain melting in my mouth—that was what the traditional sisig was all about. It was no longer the sourness that defined it, but the chopped pig parts.

And then came Lucia "Aling Lucing" Cunanan of Angeles City. She further redefined sisig by introducing two features in the preparation: broiling or grilling the pig parts after boiling them, and then serving the dish on a sizzling plate. She had retained all the elements of the traditional sisig (chopped meat sprinkled with calamansi juice) but it was the sizzling plate that revolutionized the Kapampangan sisig and made it a national sensation, catapulting the obscure little lady from the railroad tracks to national fame.

Aling Lucing also revolutionized Kapampangan eating-out habits by not serving her sisig in a fancier place. "Crossing" became the most popular destination in the region as celebrities, government officials and rich families risked their lives, their reputations and their expensive cars by flocking to Aling Lucing's open-air eatery on the old railroad tracks, close to a squatters area, where the tangled web of narrow alleys could easily hide thieves, assassins and drug addicts.

Because Aling Lucing made her sisig so irresistible, Kapampangans threw all their vaunted snobbery and vanity to the wind and went where the food was good. Before, Kapampangans ate out only in air-conditioned and fashionable restaurants; they shunned humid and unsanitary canteens. Today, it doesn't matter what the place looks like, as long as the food is good. This is good news for Kapampangan entrepreneurs because a restaurant business no longer requires a huge capital; they can actually just convert their backyard or the vacant lot beside their house or even their garage into an eating place, and the customers, who care only for good food, would certainly not mind. I can cite a few examples: Jojo's, Razon's, Corazon's, Kabigting's, Cely's, Grill 99, Luring's, and all those popular but still nameless eateries all over the province.

It was Aling Lucing who started all that.

Today her stall at the railroad tracks is draped in black. They should put a marker there so that people will not forget how this humble spot has spawned a whole industry around the Philippines and even in many parts of the world. Sisig is now perhaps the most popular Filipino dish, more popular than the adobo. Cooks everywhere have concocted their own sisig versions, using bangus, tuna, tofu, mussels, squid, chorizo, chicken, and even frog, ostrich and python. Some have experimented with frying instead of boiling and broiling, and others have introduced egg, chicharon and many different nuances, but what has remained as the defining element is the sizzling plate. That's exactly the one master stroke of culinary and marketing genius that we can all attribute to the late Aling Lucing.

Five years ago, on May 17, 2003, Angeles City started the Sisig Festival, which featured a giant sizzling plate on which HAU-HRM students cooked tons of sisig which was later served to the thousands of revelers. The festival was so successful that the city council promptly passed a resolution declaring Angeles City as the "Sisig Capital of the Philippines. " No other town or city objected or complained then; none has challenged it since.

Now that Aling Lucing is dead, she has certainly become larger-than- life. The annual sisig festival will most likely keep her memory and legacy alive, probably even start weaving a legend around her. There is a certain symmetry and poetry in the life and death of Aling Lucing: she had used a knife to create the dish that gave her fortune and fame, and a knife was used to take it all away.

As the case continues to unravel in the next few days, we who consider her a Kapampangan cultural icon cannot help being dismayed with newspaper reports about who the suspect might be. They were an octogenarian couple, for God's sake. How could an octogenarian ever deserve dying such a violent death, or be ever capable of committing such a violent murder?

Next time you order sisig, take time to appreciate the ancient origins of this original Kapampangan dish, and don't forget to say a prayer for that little old lady whose sad and sordid ending will always be part of the sisig story.

Sto. Nino Fiesta
Date Last Sunday of February
Venue Guagua, Pampanga
Description Held every last Sunday of February, fluvial parade takes place on the eve of the festival. Adding to the occasion's excitement is the Ati-Atihan street dancing parade with a mixture of native dances and rituals to add color and sounds to the event.
Contact Person Bessie Makabali
Tel. No. (63 45) 961-1780/861-2609

Tigtigan, Terakan Queng Dalan
Date Last Friday and Saturday of October
Venue Angeles City, Pampanga
Description Held every last Friday and Saturday of October, the celebration of Fiestang Kuliat culminates with the ever popular TIGTIGAN, TERAKAN QUENG DALAN which features singing and dancing in the street. It is the local version of the Mardi Gras. Local celebrity bands keep visitors entertained all night long. Food stalls of various cuisine fill the street along the entertainment district of Brgy. Balibago for the duration of the festival. The event is organized by the Angeles City Tourism Office in cooperation with Kuliat Foundation.
Contact Person Ethel Galang
Tel. No. (63 45) 322-0507/892-2212/2213 loc 195

Via Crucis
Date Good Friday
Venue Nationwide, N/A
Description The parish is divided into areas called 'purok' and the Way of the Cross is enacted in each purok on Good Friday. A purok leader selects the houses which will each host a station of the cross, and the people stop at each station to pray and be one with Christ along the way. (Credits: Filway's Philippine Almanac)

 

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