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Events, Festivities & Festivals

Fiestas

Bohol is renowned as the island of fiestas, and they are well and truly part and parcel with the Boholano culture. With religion holding a prominent importance on the island, every municipality and barangay (village or neighborhood within the municipality) has its own Fiesta dedicated to their patron saint. Baclayon is certainly no different. While the main Baclayon Fiesta is in December, there is never a shortage of smaller barangay fiestas throughout the year.

Fiestas in Baclayon are a time of great merriment and joyousness, with plenty of free food and drink for all! Preparations start long before the day – saving for the feast, preparing decorations for the barangay streets, choreographing dances and beauty pageants, and fattening their pigs for Lechon Baboy (whole spit-roasted pig) – a fiesta favorite. Relatives will return home from Manila and all around the world to celebrate, but doors are open to EVERYONE, even if you do not know the home owner! The fiesta is considered one of the highest forms of expressing one’s-self to the community through the kindness and generosity he or she is able to exude. Futhermore, the community interaction surpasses social barriers, thereby beginning and enhancing friendships, mutual respect, and cooperation. No invitations needed…just eat your heart out!


Holy Week

Holy week is an extremely important religious festival on the national Filipino calendar, and Bohol is no exception with the island province holding exceptionally strong Roman Catholic values after hundreds of years of Spanish occupation. Baclayon is an ideal location to celebrate Holy Week in the Philippines with the Baclayon Church’s rich history and splendor adding immensely to the occasion.

Holy Wednesday

The Holy Wednesday procession, held in the early evening, consists of amazing floats composed of images and tableaux showing the key events leading to the Crucifixion. Starting at Baclayon Church, the parade begins with images of the 12 apostles, followed by the lead characters in the passion of the Christ, which are lead around the streets of Baclayon with large crowds of community members trailing behind with lit candles. The climax of the Holy Wednesday procession is the Station of the Cross which ends with the image of the sorrowful Mother Mary embracing the dead Jesus.

Good Friday

Krus Dako Pilgrimage
19.5 kilometers from Baclayon, Krus Dako is a giant cross placed on a hillside overlooking the Loboc township. The cross has been used as place for pilgrimage at dawn on Good Friday since it’s construction in the 1980’s, with pilgrims coming from different towns of Bohol to scale the 3km hill and see the sun rise overlooking the rest of Bohol. There are seven Stations of the Cross placed on small hills close to summit to light a candle and pray to, with Krus Dako being the seventh Station of the Cross. While most people drive to Loboc to begin the pilgrimmage, you can join many groups of people that make the walking expedition from Baclayon to the Krus Dako, commencing around 3am, and reaching the summit near 6 or 7am. A very unique Holy Week experience!

Prusisyon ng Sto. Entierro
Towards the evening of Good Friday there is a funeral procession of the deceased Christ, known as “Prusisyon ng Sto. Entierro”. The statue of the dead Christ is lead from the Baclayon Church and transported through the streets of Baclayon on a decorated funeral carriage, along with other life-sized images of saints depicting the decent from the cross or burial. Tradition dictates that the last image of the procession is always the Mater Dolorosa, or Our Lady of Sorrows, the names by which Mother Mary referred to in relation to sorrows in her life.

Black Saturday

Holy Saturday known locally as “Black Saturday”, has the traditional silence and solemnity from the previous day spilling over into it. Preparations are made for the Easter Vigil to be celebrated that evening, a service held a the first official celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. It is during this time that people are baptized and adult catechumens are received into full communion with the Church. The service is held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Black Saturday, and sunrise on Easter Day.

Foundation Day

Baclayon celebrates the historic foundation of the municipality in 1596 annually on November 17. The day is marked with a wide range of activities for all to enjoy, including, street parades, fairs, games, dancing, and a Cultural Night to showcase the unique heritage of the Baclayon community.

 

Sandugo Festival

The Bohol Sandugo Festival, also known as the Blood Compact Commemoration, is an annual event held in Tagbilaran City, only 7km along the coast from Baclayon. This festival commemorates the Treaty of Friendship between Datu Sikatuna, the native chieftain in Bohol, and Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi. This 16th Century peace treaty occurred on March 16, 1565 through a blood compact or “sandugo” when the two men were believed to have made a cut on their left arms with a dagger and sprinkled their blood into a cup filled with wine, which they both drunk in honor of their friendship and brotherhood. This was a traditional way to formalize treaties of friendship in the Philippines.

The Sandugo Festival is held every July, with the month-long festivities including church ceremonies and blood compact reenactments, while Miss Beauty Sandugo beauty pageant, various sports events, cockfighting tournaments and fireworks add fun, excitement and magnetism to the month. Lastly, be sure not to miss the highlight of the month-long festivities being the Sandugo Street Dancing Competition, usually held on the 3rd or 4th Sunday of July. Thousands of people from around the Philippines gather for this special event which involves colorful costumes, energetic dancing, loud drum beats, and a proud display of Boholano culture and history. The competition is usually participated in by schools, the city and municipal governments, boholano organizations abroad, and even contingents from other provinces. The competition starts at noon at the City Pier, passes through the city’s major streets, and culminates at the Pres. Carlos P. Garcia Sports Complex where a Sandugo Re-enactment is held. The final judging of the competition will be held at the Complex where the participants will again perform for the audience. The winners receive thousands of pesos in prizes.

The Sandugo Festival is proof of the greatness that springs from unity, when different regions, local government and the private sector, cultural advocates and philanthropists come together. One blood, one culture.

    
(Click on the above images to see the photo gallery of the Sandugo Festival)

 

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