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PRODUCTION TEAM Rowena Galang-Bumanlag Joahna G. Goyagoy Khrizie Evert M. Marcelo WRITERS Rowena G. Bumanlag Joahna G. Goyagoy Jaime Giancarlo L. Ramos PHOTOGRAPHERS Rowena G. Bumanlag CREATIVE DIRECTOR Joahna G. Goyagoy MANAGING EDITOR Edmar D. Guquib Local Government Unit of San Joaquin, Iloilo Local Government Unit of Sta. Cruz, Laguna Local Government Unit of Talavera, Nueva Ecija PHOTO CREDITS Eric P. Palacpac Anselmo S. Roque EDITORS Libertado C. Cruz EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/ EDITORIAL ADVISER

ISBN Copyright© 2012 PHILIPPINE CARABAO CENTER All rights reserved




4 8 1

Kneeling Carabao Festival Pahiyas Festival Katigbawan Festival

vi Introduction ix Foreword


San Isidro de Labrador Festival


Carabao-Carroza Festival

19 23 24 28

Karbo Festival Nuang Festival Turogpo Festival Pasungay Festival



Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival

Kesong Puti Festival


Introduction A sense of magical fervor seems to touch the length and breadth of farmlands, turning them into a splendid canvass of dynamism, true sense of “bayanihan”, and liveliness in each instance of farm work. Taking on a significant share in this marvelous landscape is the carabao. For years, it has been the farmer’s indispensable and reliable ally on the farm. It is a dominant force in the completion of major farm works such as plowing and harrowing, and hauling of products. In this context, naturally, the essential beast is accorded due importance and is still prevailing in the Philippine agriculture setting, even in the touted dominance of farm machinery. In addition to the traditional functions of the carabao, there is now a gradual shift in the attribution of role of this mammal from being a mere farmer’s confederate to being an important source of income. In many villages in the country, carabao raisers, particularly those engaged in raising dairy-type buffaloes, are increasing in number owing to the new-found importance of this animal in the Philippine setting. Dairy-type buffalos, it must be emphasized, are not the kind that waded to Philippine shores a long time ago. Swamp-type buffalos, they were called, became the mainstays of Philippine agriculture. They were mainly for draft, not for dairying. Fortunately, the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) was established and has taken headways in its effort to upgrade the genetic potential of the Philippine swamp buffalo. These efforts have provided a very significant source of livelihood among farming families in the countryside. The proliferation of crossbreds, which is a direct result of the government’s intensified crossbreeding program, is a cause for a big toast as it brings home to the farmers not just a message but a concrete evidence that there is more in the carabao than meets the eye.

vi Carabao Festivals

As PCC renews its commitment to further its research and development efforts as the country’s lead agency for livestock biotechnology, it does not miss on unraveling other facets of the carabao—such as its compelling role in the Filipino’s cultural heritage. Annually, every 15th of May, for instance, local residents and tourists are regaled in different festivals by the presence of the mighty beast which is presented as the center of attention and attraction. Outside of this date, many other places in the country are also holding festivities in honor of the carabao. May 15, in the church’s liturgical calendar, is the feast day of the farmer’s patron saint, San Isidro de Labrador (Saint Isidore the Laborer). In celebration of St. Isidore’s feast day, the farmers see to it that their major products as well as the agro-industrial products that are either distinctively or commonly produced in the host town are showcased either in the parade or exhibits. Cottage industry products, too, are flaunted. But as a natural course of action, the carabao figures prominently in these activities. There are many festivals in the country whose central figure for celebration is the carabao. These festivals, evolving from simple celebrations of thanksgiving to big town events, mirror the very soul of the townspeople. They are a culture passed through generations which the residents want to continue and which the tour¬ists are always raring to see. The popularization of the accounts of these events only shows that the social role of the carabao will always be given prime importance and its glory will never cease to radiate, even as the grandeur of modernization sets in. It will warm everyone’s heart to realize that Filipinos have come out with different festivities that make the carabaos the real stars of the show. They are in varied forms, colors, actions and others that all but show high regard for this animal. They are captured in this presentation, at best to let everyone be aware of the important position of the carabao in festivities in the Philippine setting.


Foreword Loved as an essential animal for draft power, the carabao occupies a hallowed place in the heart of Filipinos. Now that it has also become a source of big volumes of milk, owing to its improving breed typified by the crossbreds, and high quality meat which has launched many business ventures, all the more that this animal is accorded a high and loving regard. Grateful as we are, Filipinos honor the carabao in different ways - one of them by bestowing a tribute to this animal in the form of festivals. Thus, we have “carabao festivals” in many parts of the country. These festivals are held in different ways and form. Naturally, they are anticipated events in the towns or cities where they are being held. The Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) endeavored to document these festivals in the different parts of the country if only to show how much the carabao is held in high esteem and in the process becomes part of our society’s culture. The documentation led to the conceptualization of a mini-coffee table book titled “Carabao Festivals”. We offer it to you. Be at a vantage point to see and appreciate these festivals in photos and words as you leap through the pages of this book. Enjoy these festivals like the people who mount them up and those came to witness them and feel the continuing vibrant love for this animal – the carabao.

Libertado C. Cruz

Executive Director

Carabao Festivals



Pulilan, Bula

Kneeling Carabao Festival In Pulilan town in Bulacan, the popular “The Kneeling Carabao Festival” never fails to draw an influx of tourists due to the dramatic display of particular “talents” of the carabaos participating in the festival. This particular festival is a “show of religiosity” of the townsfolk which they apparently passed on to their carabaos as the animals, with the signal of their caretaker, genuflect right in front of the church. Staged every 14th day of May annually, thousands of curious spectators gather on the streets to witness this fiesta celebration. The select carabaos are adorned like “royalties”; their “crowns” (horns) are rubbed with oil for a shining sheen, their backs adorned with special clothes serving as their “capes”, their bodies are scrubbed, cleaned, and painted, their legs designed with knee caps, and their hooves, too, are either made shiny or painted with usually attention-grabbing colors. Before carabaos are staged to stardom, they are trained by their masters on how to kneel. One farmer shared that a carabao is trained by tying its leftfront leg then pulled backward until the animal crouches and eventually takes a kneeling position.

Carabao trainers for the festival continue to grow in number and the skill continuously sharpened as the masters proudly pass on to their children a tradition that has a strong link with their ancestors. This only goes to show that “The Kneeling Carabao Festival” will not cease to bring endless expressions of delight and amazement from the residents of Pulilan and tourists alike.


Kneeling Carabao Festival





Pahiyas Festival Another grand show of the arts, in which the carabao is the main star of the event, and perhaps the most prestigious and the grandest of all San Isidro de Labrador festivals, is the “Lucban San Isidro Pahiyas Festival.” The colorful parade, which is usually dominated by pastel and bright colors, is interspersed with a tint of a different color— jet black or sometimes dark brown and albino. That “other color” is provided by a convoy of the best carabaos in town, an activity which the Lucbanins call “gayak karosa” and “bikas gayak”. Mightily, the carabaos can pull the sled without hassle even in steep slopes of the “Pahiyas” route. The sleds are ladened with lots of vegetables, farm animals, fruits, and even children in their fine Filipiniana costume. At some anticipated moments in the long procession, some of the carabaos flaunt their talent in genuflecting, an act that never fails to stir further the already excited crowd. “Pahiyas Festival” is a century-old and prestigious gaiety held annually in Lucban that never fails to enthrall its audience with its amazing showcase of homegrown creativity immortalized from the Lucbanin’s motto: “Yanong rikit, baling ganda”. It means “most beautiful”.



Pahiyas Festival

Essentially, the festival is traditionally the liturgical feast of thanksgiving every 15th of May each year by the residents in honor of Saint Isidore the Laborer for the good harvest. Before joining the parade, the caretaker usually prepares his best animal, polishes its horns, scrubs its body, and lets it rest for it to have the needed energy for the long stretch of the parade.





Katigbawan Festival ation. tourist destin re ie m re p l s itself as a of its annua Bohol pride , the holding n w to n ia b s Catig y of June ha In fact, in its very 16th da e l” a iv st s. e F st n uri “Katigbawa ong local to e event am e -s st u m a become erged ao, has em b ra a c r fo rm bration. ”, the local te annual cele The “kabaw ’s n w to e th rpiece of d up to the as the cente s are dresse w a b , ka e th le materials tacle, In this spec sing availab u s” n e e u q ings and nines like “k rtificial. as well as a indigenous ndiose ted nails, gra in a p ir e th ith d eyelashes, in all glory w They blaze sses, colore re d d a e h t ount ravagan r their param e ft A “gowns”, ext t. a th t a te make-up ed for the and comple en summon th re a s o a by the e carab dly followed n ra g makeover, th s e h rc a selected for hich each m o marshals, parade in w a b ra a c s, e ike royalti rade. townsfolk. L lead the pa s, ie d o b g n stro their big and pening festivals hap o a b ra a c e of th noring While most re about ho a o g la e ip h the arc abrador, the elsewhere in San Isidro L t, in sa n o tr pa r the ted to hono the farmer’s ra b le e c is l” farm n Festiva ntributions in o c “Katigbawa st va its f lf because o the town in carabao itse articular and p in rs e rm g the fa works helpin general.



Katigbawan Festival






San Isidro de Labrador Festival Angono town in Rizal is known as home of the country’s great artists. Such innate inclination to artistry of the townsfolk is showcased in one of its unique festivals held every 15th of May in honor of the feast day of San Isidro de Labrador. The festival’s highlight is a colorful and joyous procession of carabao with their respective owners riding on them and carabao-pulled carts loaded with myriads of farm products. The carts are adorned with flowers and bunting that made them very colorful. What catches attention the most, though, is the inclusion in the parade of replicas of carabaos fashioned artistically and colorfully in paper maché. Started 15 years ago, the making of carabao replicas from paper maché was made popular by Jose Pitok Blanco, one

of the well-known artists of Angono who was named as the town’s “Master of Folk Genre”. It usually takes one week to finish the construction of carabao replicas. The paper machés use bamboo and fiber glass frames, chicken wires, and papers. They are painted once they are assembled. Fabrics of different vibrant colors are used to cover the body. Aside from giant carabao paper machés, giant vegetables of the same construct are also paraded during the festival’s celebration.




Carabao-Carroza Festival Pavianhons in Iloilo gives the carabao a “day’s break”. This gave birth to the occasion of the “Carabao-Carroza Festival”, which is the oldest-of-its-kind festival in the heritage-rich province. The event is a showcase of the Pavianhon’s ingenuity, teamwork, and pleasant nature as they participate in varied activities during this celebration. On the day of the parade, carabao caretakers donned their animals with artistically tailored mantle of cover from the horns down to the knees and shanks. The cover is made of cloth or raw and indigenous materials such as leaves, seeds, and other recyclable items, sewn together to make one lovable adornment. Some were simply painted with various colors that suit the carroza’s theme. The carrozas or sleds, on the other hand, are expertly decorated with all-indigenous craftsmanship. The event has practically become an expression of each barangay’s uniqueness and creativity using their own agricultural produce. Participated in by 18 barangays of the municipality of Pavia, Iloilo, the event is highlighted by three major events, namely: the carabao-carroza parade, carabao-carroza race, and the search for the festival queen.


Carabao-Caroza Festival






Karbo Festival Every year, Vigan City illustrates the Filipino’s deep love for cultural heritage as showcased in its local artists’ works. Ilocandia’s finest artists demonstrate this in a competition using their exceptional talent and impressive creativity. Such demonstration of talent is seen during the “Karbo Festival” where local painters use the carabao’s body as their canvas. The outcome is a masterpiece that is created out of genuine artistry. “Karbo Festival”, which is one of the highlights of the weeklong “Viva Vigan Festival of Arts” held on the first week of May, is a carabao painting pageantry and an exposition of the abundance of seed of life showcased in “boklan” (seeds) artworks, a mosaic-type masterpiece that uses different kinds of seeds as its medium. “Karbo” came from the word “karabao” (carabao). The festival was conceptualized to recognize the contribution of people behind Vigan’s successful agriculture industry as well as to give honor to the hardworking carabao.


Karbo Festival






Nuang Festival An array of dark and stocky crossbred carabaos owned by smallholder-farmers is paraded on the streets of San Agustin town in Isabela province before the locals and guests who cheered for their own favorites. The festival is held every September 28th of the year, which is the town’s founding anniversary. During the festival, the farmers, who are garbed in their fiesta attire, proceed to the plaza with their carabao in town. Then, at a signal, the parade starts with the farmers proudly and happily riding on their respective “nuang” (Ilocano term for carabao). After the parade, the contest begins. It is in this contest that the best among the nuangs are selected by the select judges. Titles such as “best draft animal”, “biggest bull”, “most beautiful dam”, “best milk yielder”, “most intelligent”, and some other awards. Over the centuries, the festival pays tribute to the nuangs as a reliable partner for the back-breaking toils in the field and for other uses and purposes. Easily, the nuang has emerged as the farmers’ and the town’s pride.



carigara, le

Turogpo Festival During Black Saturday, which is observed by the Roman Catho¬lic Church as a day of sorrow, people in Barangay Camansi in the town of Carigara in Leyte, come together for their annual “Turogpo Festival”. “Turogpo”, whose beginning dates back to the early 1600s, is Camansi’s version of a bull fight made popular in another country. It is a contest of strength between two carabaos, a test of endurance for both through locking of their horns and pushing one another until the losing animal starts to run away from its opponent. The term emanates from the root word “togpo”, a waray word which means matchmaking. Usually, the term refers to matching two people for the purpose of marriage. But it could also mean matching opponents for a combat or a joust. Through rounds of elimination, the best carabaos get to fight with each other. The entry that stays the longest and comes out still raring to joust is declared as the overall winner. The festival features carabao fights (pasungay), horse fights (paaway), and cock-fighting (karambola). Already a 400-year old community tradition, “Turogpo” is originally held on Good Friday but was reset to Black Saturday to maintain the holiness of Good Friday.



Turogpo Festival





Pasungay Festival In San Joaquin, Iloilo, the bullfighting is left between the two bulls, or more specifically the “kalabaw” or the water buffalo. These bulls are groomed and handpicked months before the festivities, to ensure the success of the fight. There’s nothing more disappointing than going to a fight and just see the carabaos staring at each other. Bulls are not the only ones featured in this animal fight club. Stallions or male horses are given their time in the arena as well. Betting is a common activity during this festival just like in “sabong” or cockfighting. The Pasungay Festival is the highlight of this weeklong celebration that gives homage to the Sto. Nino or the Child Jesus. It is celebrated every third Saturday of January.



Pasungay Festival




Nueva Ecija

Gatas ng Kalabaw Festival Celebrated during Farmers’ Week, the festival aims to actively encourage, promote, and enhance carabao’s milk as a nutrition and livelihood industry. Highlight of the festival is street dancing followed by float parade, parade of carabaos, carabao race, agri-trade fair, milk drinking contest, ice cream making competition, ceremonial milk toast, simultaneous milk-drinking of children aged five to six. This activity promotes the importance of milk as an essential health food that helps arrest malnutrition among pre-school children. The fair also aims to actively promote carabao’s milk as a nutrition and livelihood industry ehich is strongly supported by the local government units of Talavera, Llanera, Guimba, Science City of Muñoz, and San Jose City. The “Gatas ng Kalabaw” Festival was initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) being the lead agency for the One-town-oneproduct scheme (OTOP) of the several municipalities of the province.




Kesong Puti Festival Cheese has been part of the Filipino palate particularly during celebrations. The kesong puti or white cheese that originated from Sta. Cruz Laguna is becoming popular to food lovers. Because of this, a festival is held every year in Sta. Cruz, Laguna for this cheese. The “Kesong Puti Festival� lasts for nine days. Different activities are lined up in this celebration from April 1-9 that include trade fair, food festival, cultural shows, street dancing, painting contest, and beauty pageant.



Kesong Puti Festival



Philippine Carabao Center National Headquarters and Gene Pool, Science City of Mu単oz, Nueva Ecija Trunkline: (044) 4560-731 to 34; Telefax no.: (044) 4560-730 E-mail: Website:

PCC Regional Centers PCC at Cagayan State University Tuguegarao City, Cagayan PCC at Mariano Marcos State University Batac, Ilocos Norte PCC at Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University Rosario, La Union PCC at Central Luzon State University Science City of Mu単oz, Nueva Ecija PCC at University of the Philippines-Los Ba単os Los Ba単os, Laguna PCC at La Carlota Stock Farm La Carlota City, Negros Occidental PCC at Visayas State University Baybay, Leyte PCC at West Visayas State University Calinog, Iloilo PCC at Ubay Stock Farm Ubay, Bohol PCC at Central Mindanao University Musuan, Bukidnon PCC at University of Southern Mindanao Kabacan, North Cotabato PCC at Mindanao State University Marawi City, Lanao del Sur PCC at Mindanao Livestock Production Center Kalawit, Zamboanga del Norte

PCC Coffee Table Book 2012  
PCC Coffee Table Book 2012  

PCC Coffee Table Book 2012