The Obando Town Fiesta: Santa Clara Feast Day

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, the most celebrated patron saint of the parish. To her petitions are channeled by devotees so that they can have a child. Saint Claire is also the patron saint of Broadcasting.

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)
Saint Paschal Baylon was a spanish friar who is the patron saint of the Eucharistic congregations because of his devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He is also the patron of the school being administered by the parish (formerly administered by the dominican congregation) who's students are called Paschalians.

Nuestra Senora de Salambao (Our Lady of Salambao)
Patron saint of the fishermen. One of the main livelihood of the residents is fishing due to its proximity to the Manila Bay.

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.
In the fish port you can ride a banca to the island barangay of Binuwangan which used to be part of Malabon and is where the image of the lady was found.

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
We tried to go inside the church through the main door but it was closed already. So we went to the side entrance of the church to get inside.

side entrance of the church
Church Grand Chandelier 

Main Altar

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. 


AJ said...

I'd want to see the dancing in Obando just as much as Turumba in Pakil. They both incorporate frenzied dancing in their processions. And they have similar legends about fishing out the image of the Madonna from water. How uncanny.

I also wonder how this fiesta turned into a fertility fest. Paano kaya ito nagsimula? At ano ang rate of success? :)

Thanks for sharing this, Ian. O db ang pormal ko. Hehe

ian said...

@AJ - well according to statistics couples who..... wenk! hehehe merong statistics pa ako akong nalalaman! hahaha... gusto ko rin nga makaatend dun sa turumba eh...

about the festival there's this story about a couple from hagonoy who wants to have child who met a crab vendor in bulacan, bulacan. the crab vendor told them to dance at obando. to their surprise when they got to the church the crab vendor they met looks like st. paschal one of the patron saint of the church.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that means tisoyin ang crab vendor. :) Nice story. I'm a sucker for back stories like that.

lakwatsera de primera said...

Nababasa ko lang ang Sayawan at fiesta sa Obando dati sa textbooks at hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa rin napupuntahan. Kahit hindi pa naman ako humihingi ng "biyaya", nacurious lang sa celebration :)

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

sayang! was too tired frm work to even go there. But hey, thnks for sharing, parang andun na din ako.

thepinaysolobackpacker said...

sayang! was too tired frm work to even go there. But hey, thnks for sharing, parang andun na din ako.

Thunderbird Casino said...

Many people awaits for the festivl of Obando. Of course, Obando is well known because married couple who seek for having child is dancing here in order to have a child.

chyng said...

andami kong classmate jan taga binuwangan! lahat sila dilaw ang buhok. hihi