"umakyat sa Antipolo, nagsayaw sa Obando..." - Lea Salonga
Sorry Lea, but I just danced and joined the festivities of Obando.
I did a familiarization tour last month. Details on how to reach Obando is posted there.
The feast of Obando aka Obando Fertility Rites is a three day celebration held every 17th to 19th of May. It is said that if you dance during the feast of its three patron, San Pascual de Baylon, Santa Clara de Assisi, and Nuestra Señora de Salambao, you will be blessed with children. That's right, devotees (particularly the childless couples) from different parts of the country who wish to have a child do come and dance during the feast.
|San Pascual de Baylon|
|Santa Clara de Assisi|
|Nuestra Señora de Salambao|
Once every day during the three day feast, all the images of these three patrons are sent into procession. Joined by brass band, devotees, old women, the hermanos and hermanas, and tourists, they dance with full of energy
|street dancing lolas|
After the dance, devotees (the Obando babies, couples blessed with children) will attest the miracles of the Obando Fertility Rites by giving testimonies.
Going to Obando on its feast is like going to Antipolo on an ordinary Sunday. Food stalls that sells kakanin, cashew nuts, and many other sweets are everywhere. Big time food chains also came at the plaza.
|Food stalls line the streets of Obando|
I was expecting another religious feast similar to the feast of the Black Nazarene. Little fun, little food and some kilabot factors. I was never a dancer, so I'm not so sure if this fiesta will pass my standards.
I asked Ian Dela Peña, a Pinoy Travel Blogger and my host for this event, when is the perfect day to go to Obando Festival. He told me that the feast of Sta. Clara de Assisi on the second day of the Obando Fiesta is the most celebrated.
So I visited Obando on the second day of the feast (May 18).
|the Church of Obando|
I arrived at around 7:30 am, a lot of people, devotees and tourist, flock the church's entrance. They were welcoming the three patrons' images being brought out for the procession. I was just right in time, the procession was about to start.
I saw a lot of old women in their Filipiniana costumes. They would be the dancers of the procession. The brass band was also there, preparing their lungs for the long and tiring procession.
By 8:00 am, as soon as Sta. Clara was brought out from the church, the procession started. All the ladies (the ones wearing the Filipiniana costume) in the procession danced with the tune of the brass music. It was really fun watching them.
|one of the Brass bands on the procession|
|woot. todo bigay|
|lots of lola|
|the Altar boys|
|pa-Caridad, one of my favorite Pinoy traditions|
Joining the procession was indeed an exhausting thing to do. So I went back to church after reaching half the route of the procession.
|devotees of San Pascual|
|devotees of Santa Clara|
|the original image of Nuestra Señora de Salambao, placed in the altar|
|oh yeah.. passionate dancers|
|San Pascual waiting outside the church|
|Our Lady of Salambao|
When I saw him, he dragged me back inside the church, the fertility dance ritual is about to start. What? the dance ritual will be held inside? All this time, I really thought that the dances are done at the plaza.
The Strange Feeling... Goosebumps mode.
While inside, waiting for the image of Sta. Clara to reach the altar, devotees who came to dance in the ritual started clapping and cheering. A strange feeling was starting to cover me (what's happening? is it just the warm atmosphere or am I being blessed with great fertility?), probably the first timer's instinct.
|the three patrons just outside the Church's door|
In 3..2..1.. the brass band started playing folk music, everyone started to dance. Even the carosa Sta. Clara was dancing too. Then I felt goosebumps all over me. Suddenly I danced with the crowd, as if I was possessed by something. Grabe! sobra ang kilabot ko.
It was really hot inside, everyone was sweating.
|the dancing Santa Clara|
|wooh. party party!|
The Town of Obando
After that strange experience, Ian invited me for a short tour around the town of Obando.
We went first to a fish port, locally known as "Ponduhan". From here you can ride a boat to a place called Binuwangan where it is believed that the image of Nuestra Señora de Salambao was found. We saw kids posing as they play in the dark water.
|the fish port|
|the kids who love posing|
|boats by the port|
|Obando Church's bell tower|
|the church's front door|
|a monument at Plaza Magsaysay|
|Obando's Municipal Hall|
|dancing statues of in front of the Municipal hall|
|a cemetery behind the church|