In Lupao, Nueva Ecija
‘Baybayanting Festival’ highlights battle
between Christian and Muslim crusaders
By Enrique P. Valenton
LUPAO, Nueva Ecija – Like in other places which feature festivals with religious undertones, such as Ati-atihan, Sinulog, Feast of the Black Nazarene, “Taong-Putiik”, and Araquio, this town has its own - the “Baybayanting Festival”. Held every July 25, it is in honor of “Señor Santiago Apostol” (St. James the Apostle). It is carried out by members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente sect. Basically, it depicts the pierce bolo-fighting between the Christian villagers of Lupao and the Muslim crusaders then attempting to spread the Islamic faith. It is done during a procession in the Poblacion here in the morning of July 25. The participants in the portrayal of the event wear colorful attires of Christians and Muslims. For the Christians, the attire is distinguished by blue undergarments and sash with white upper garment and native hat made of “silag” (palm fiber). For the Muslims, red undergarments and sash with white upper garments and a colorful headdress. The attires were according to the color of the Independent church (blue, red and white) which features the presentation. They use real bladed bolos and wooden shields, vows and arrows for each of the players comprising nine pairs of Christian and Muslims. They march on the street and with the rhythms of the drums as signal, they fight with each other through a choreographed dance. “The bolos spark as they hit the other bolos,” one of those who had joined the procession in the past said. At the end of the procession which is participated in by the “debosyado” and “debosyada”, is the image of “Señor Santiago” representing the magical person who helped the villagers in depending their faith. The procession starts at the Iglesia Filpina Indepiendente Church and proceeds to the Poblacion proper and to the Poblacion East where it stops at the place of an “ubbog” (spring...
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