1st week of May
Municipality of Pavia
2nd District, Iloilo
The family-friendly community and agricultural town of Pavia celebrate the festival of the carabaos through the annual Carabao-Carroza, the longest existing festival in Iloilo Province.
Prior to the race, the festival also features a colourful parade of 18 decorated bamboo carrozas representing the 18 barangays of Pavia. Along with their 18 muses, the carrozas also bear the local produce of these barangays. The grand opening parade will take off at Ungka-I. Parade participants will compete for the top award, the Most Gaily Decorated Carabao and Carroza.
The parade will proceed to the open field of Pavia National High School for a short program to be followed by the race. Visitors and guests flock to the area to witness this annual carabaos race that started forty years ago. It has become a tradition since then as farmers race their strongest and fastest carabaos. The race is of two major types: flat racing and carroza-racing. The flat race is where carabaos driven by farmer run across the 100-meter long parallel grassy track; while the carroza race is driven by farmers with carrozas drawn by the carabaos. The race is based on speed and stamina of the carabaos.
Carabao-Carroza Festival boasts Pavia’s rich cultural meaning and long history as it compose an important part of the Ilonggo culture. It also helps a great deal in preserving this indigenous celebration in Iloilo that despite the advent of modern machineries that are rapidly replacing our carabaos for agriculture making most of the farm work mechanized, the Carabao-Carroza festival continuous to rise for greater heights of progress for Pavia.
Every May 1st
Municipality of Tubungan
1st District, Iloilo
Tubungan continues to celebrate its proud heritage every year with its annual Tubong-Tubong Festival. It is a favourite of Tubunganons as the occasion calls for more entertainment than any other time of the year. It is the year’s most important community activity. Family members gather in the poblacion, traveling from across far-flung mountain barangays to spend the celebration in each other’s company.
Tubong-Tubong is derived from the word ‘tubong,’ a term used in gambling or in games, meaning ‘to add,’ ‘to contribute’ or ‘to chip-in’ to the original bet. The Spanish Laws of the Indies requires a place to have a certain number in terms of population in order to be recognized as a town.
And to comply with this requirement, people from neighboring towns were recruited and encouraged to settle in Tin-an, the original town of Tubungan. Its recognition as a town during the Spanish regime was made possible through tubong-tubong in terms of population.
Tubong-Tubong Festival was established with its mission of promoting and preserving the cultural and artistic heritage of the people of this town. While dedicated to maintain the traditional aspects of their past, the celebration also presents to the public, a variety of cultural programs. The municipal government is also active in encouraging and promoting the development of youth who will carry their heritage with them into the next century.
The celebration’s highlight is the tribal dance presentation that depicts the spirit of cooperative effort involving a community of members and features a small fiesta to express gratitude. Other tribes focus on indigenous beliefs such as folk rituals established among the people in the community and the non-human beings, such as spirits and divinities. Cultural practices as expressed in a collection of stories are also presented where it shaped the history of this town and what the future lies for Tubungan.
Every 1st week of May
Municipality of Oton
1st District, Iloilo
The oldest municipality in Panay, Oton annually celebrate its rich and historical and cultural heritage through its Katagman Festival. The celebration is an exciting showcase of the town’s rich history.
The individual performances of assigned excerpts are energetic piece of dance theatre inspired by historic periods in Oton that showcases clashes with Muslim pirates, Spanish authorities and the anti-religious sects. The performance is aimed to be informative.
Drawing on historical accounts, key images takes its audience on a historical journey, reminding us of the harsh realities that the Ogtonganons faced in the past. The presentations use symbolic movements, patterns and a body language to build up an intense portrait of repression and success and tell its story.
The festival icon is the golden death mask included amongst the 15 Most Intense Archaeological Discoveries in Philippine History. Considered to be a National Cultural Treasure, the mask was discovered in the 1960s by Alfredo Evangelista and F. Landa Jocano in a grave site in Barangay San Antonio, Oton.
The mask consists of a gold nose-disc and eye-mask is said to have been dated sometime in the late 14th to the early 15th century A.D. Around that time, the town of Oton was a popular trade route. The golden death mask was known to be the first of its kind recovered in the Philippines. It served as an amulet against evil spirits and was used to cover the face of the dead, an ancient Chinese burial practice common especially among southern Chinese.