With all these discussion going on about the controversial RH Bill, we tend to forget about the people who actually are struggling still to have a child.
Of all the Philippine fiestas during the month of May celebrating fertility, Unlike other fiestas that celebrates fertility in harvest, The Obando fertility festival celebrates fertility of humans to bear a child.
|Obando Church, San Pascual Baylon Parish with the former convent converted into a school on its side.|
Petitions are channeled through Saint Claire for couples to bear child. Couples pray through dance. They join the procession dancing as it goes through the nearby areas of the church.
devotees dance to the music made by a brass band or a bandang bumbong. A bandang bumbong is similar to a brass band only that their instruments are all made of bamboos. Unfortunately no bandang bumbong was at the parade.
The parish is noted of having a the longest feast day in the Philippines having three patron saints.
|Santa Clara (Saint Claire)|
Saint Claire was the first patron to be enshrined by the franciscans who built the church in Catanghalan, the former name of Obando.
|San Pascual Baylon (Saint Paschal Baylon)|
|Nuestra Senora de Salambao (Our Lady of Salambao)|
According to local people, the image of the lady was found by a fisherman. While fishing the man dipped his Salambao, a type of fishing net into the water and when he pulled the net back the image of the lady was on the net hence, the image of the lady on a Salambao.
People from all walks of life come to dance in Obando. People who pray to have a child, those prayers were answered and the children of whose prayers were answered dance as a from of prayer.
The procession ends inside the church where devotees dance fervently praying for a child or thanking God for their answered prayers.
I had goosebumps when the crowd started dancing more passionately, you can feel how strong their faith is as they dance and shout in prayer.
After the procession we decided to go around the town proper and since I spent a lot of time in this town studying my primary and secondary course, I gave my companion a little tour of the area.
we first went to the fish port more popularly known as "Ponduhan" where they gather fishermen's harvests.
|Residents of a nearby Island barangay loading a bangca going to their area.|
while in the port we found children swimming on the river trying to escape the heat of the mid-day sun.
After eating lunch at my relative's house, we went back to check the church when the crowd has gone small already.
|Main door of the church|
|side entrance of the church|
|Church Grand Chandelier|
The festival was formerly known as Kasilonawan Festival but is now more popularly known as Sayaw sa Obando.
Going back to my opening statement, I hope that legislators and the church could fix this controversial bill as both natural and artificial methods of family planning isn't just about controlling how many child you want to have but it could also help people who are having a hard time having a child..
Here's a video of snippets of events during the street procession.
How To Get To Obando
(Option 1) From Monumento ride a jeep or bus going to Malanday. Get off at Mercury Malanday cross the street and walk towards M.H. del Pilar. The jeepney terminal is just in front of the Malanday Public Market. Jeepney signs are Paco or Obando.Fare is about 9.00 pesos
(Option 2) Look for the terminal at the back of Victory Mall going to Paco.
Note: Roads may be blocked so I would not advise bringing your own car.