Journals Of The Traveling DaDa: Kung Nagkita Si Lea At Tonyo Sa Crystal Beach Sa San Narciso, Zambales
Ito ang kauna-unahang pagkakataon na ako'y susulat ng isang blag sa wikang Tagalog sa buong kalahatan nito. Ito ang naisip kong paraan para maipakita ang aking pakikiisa sa pagpapahalaga sa wikang Filipino ngayong Buwan ng Wika. Marahil, ito na din ang sanaysay na sadyang pinag-isipan kong husto, hindi lamang dahil sa gamit ko ang Filipino, sapagkat pinag-isipan ko ng husto ang konsepto na gamit ko.
Ilang linggo na din akong walang gala kaya't nung may biglaang nagyaya sa San Narciso sa Zambales ay hindi ko pinalagpas ang pagkakataon. Kilala ang Zambales sa kanyang mga baybayin ngunit iba pa din ang hatak ng Crystal Beach sa mga nakapunta na dito. Kilala ito bilang isang pook pasyalan kung saan maaring kang magsurfing o tumambay lamang sa kanyang baybayin. Pero mas nakilala ito sa mga magagandang pasilidad na talaga nga naman sumikat sa "Instagram".
Ang Crystal Beach ay isang resort na matatagpuan sa baybayin ng San Narciso. Ito ay nakaharap sa West Philippine Sea at nakilala bilang isang "surfing spot" dahil sa katamtaman at malalaking alon na humahampas sa dalampasigan nito. Ngunit mas lalong nakilala ang lugar dahil sa magagandang lugar na tumatak dahil sa pagiging "instagrammable" nito. Ito na marahil ang naging dahilan kung bakit marami ang dumadayo dito.
Ano nga ba ang maaaring magawa kung ikaw ay dadayo sa Crystal Beach Resort? Samahan ninyo ako magbilang, tulad ni Alessandra at Empoy sa kanilang pelikulang "Kita Kita", kung bakit kakaiba ang ganda ng Crystal Beach sa San Narciso.
Isang puting bisikleta ang agad bumungad sa amin ng patungo na kami sa aming "surf shack". Ito ang unang babati sa inyo na talaga nga naman "Instagrammable". Sa likod nito ang isang "board" na puno ng mga hugot patungkol sa pag-ibig. Saan ka pa... may panglitrato ka na at makakapili ka pa ng hugot na pang-caption.
Dalawang gadget ang gamit ko para makuhanan ko ng litrato at bidyo ang tanyag na "beach trellis" ng Crystal Beach. Ang daanang ito ay isa sa mga kilala sa bansa dala ng angking nitong ganda na nakilala sa Instagram dahil sa mga malikhaing pagkakalitrato nito. Higit-kumulang 500 metro ang haba nito sa aking pagtantya at ang dulo nito ay bumubukas sa kagandahan ng dalampasigan ng San Narciso. Lahat ng mga panauhin ay nagdaraan sa "beach trellis" na ito patungo sa kanilang mga silid o "tents".
Tatlo ang duyan na pandalawahan ang madadaanan mo habang binabaybay mo ang "beach trellis". Ang mga duyan na ito ay pedeng gamitin ng mga panauhin para magmuni-muni, pampalipas oras, o panlitrato. Ito rin ay maari rin gamitin upang magmasid sa malawak at tahimik na lugar ng Crystal Beach. May mga lugar sila para sa mga malalaking grupo na nais mag-team building sa lugar.
Apat ang taong humarang sa akin habang kinukunan ko ang Kampsite 1. Tulad ng "beach trellis", ang Kampsite 1 ay isa sa mga lugar na "instagrammable" sa Crystal Beach. Dito mo makikita ang naglalakihang puno ng Agoho na sadyang pinatubo sa dalawang magkabilang linya na talaga nga naman ikinaganda ng lugar. Magandang magpakuha ng malikhaing litrato sa gitna ng mga punong ito na mistulang ikaw ay nasa isang daanan na ang mga puno ang gabay ng iyong paglalakaran.
May limang paraan para ma-enjoy mo ang Crystal Beach. Nariyan ang magdaytrip para sa mga naghahanap ng panandaliang pagliliwaliw. May mga kubo naman sa may dalampasigan na pedeng tambayan ng inyong barkada.
Nariyan din ang magpalipas ng gabi doon. Pede sa "airconditioned cottages" ang mga malalaking grupo o para doon sa maseselan. Karamihan sa mga dumadayo doon ay nagka-camping sa Crystal Beach. May mga lugar sila kung saan pede kayo magtayo ng dala ninyong "tent" o di kaya pede rin kayo umarkila nito sa kanila. Nakilala rin ang Crystal Beach dahil isa ito sa mga lugar kung saan pede kayo mag-glamping. Ang glamping ay isang uri ng "camping" kung saan ang mga "tents" ay kumpleto sa kutson, kuryente, at electric fan. Ika nga nila... "camping in style and comfort".
At ang pinakahuli ay ang mga "surf shacks" nito sa may dalampasigan. Ito ay mga kubong maliliit na may tabing at pinalibutan ng punong Agoho. Nagmistulang nasa gitna ka ng gubat at malapit sa dalampasigan.
Sa ika-anim na "surf shack" kami tumuloy na tinawag nilang Ezekiel. Ang maliit na kubo ay pinalibutan ng mga maliliit na punong Agoho. Ito ay may kurtinang puti na tabing sa apat nitong sulok. May kutson at unan, may bentilador, at may kuryente. Ilang hakbang lang ay nasa dalampasigan ka na kung saan maaring kang maupo sa buhanginan at magmasid.
May sampung "surf shack" na nilagay nila sa may dalampasigan. Tinawag nila itong "Jungle Hostel" dahil sa mga maliliit na puno na nakapaligid dito. Hindi mo nga aakalain na may mga maliliit na matutuluyan dito. Mahangin ang lugar dala ng hangin mula sa dagat at dinig dito ang hampas ng alon sa dalampasigan na parang hinehele ka sa iyong pagtulog.
Ika-pito na ng umaga ng kami'y bumangon para mag-almusal. May kasama ng agahan ang binabayaran para sa mga magpapalipas ng gabi dito. Kung swertehin ka tulad namin, "buffet breakfast" ang maabutan mo.
May malaking restawran sa loob ng Crystal Beach. Pede kayo mananghalian at maghapunan dito. Medyo may kamahalan ang kanilang mga pagkain ngunit sulit naman kung grupo kayo. Para sa mga nagtitipid, meron mga lugar kung saan pede kayo mag-ihaw at may mga kainan din sa labas ng resort. Hindi na lang namin nasubukan dala ng pabugso-bugso ang ulan nung kami ay naroon.
Walong tao ang nakausap ko habang nakatambay ako sa pinaka-"lobby" ng Jungle Hostel ng Crystal Beach. Habang si Asher ay naliligo sa pool (oo, may pool sila na maliit), ako naman ay nag-charge ng aking mga gadgets sa tambayang iyon sa gitna ng hostel. At gaya ng sabi ng kanilang paalala doon na "Mingle in the jungle", nakipagkwentuhan kami sa mga bisita at mga tauhan ng resort na dumadaan at tumatambay din doon. Karamihan sa mga bisita tulad namin ay mga taga-Maynila na nandoon dahil sa "long weekend".
Sa pakikisalamuha kong iyon batid ko na mababait at maasikaso ang mga tauhan ng Crystal Beach. Sinisigurado nila na maayos ang kalagayan at seguridad ng kanilang mga bisita.
Siyam na aktibidad ang naiisip kong maaring gawin kung maligaw kayo sa Crystal Beach. Maaring kayong magsurfing na isa sa pinakakilalang aktibidad nila dito o di kaya ay magswimming sa dagat o kaya sa pool. Kung trip ninyong mamasyal, pede din mag-island hopping sa karatig isla ng Capones na matatanaw mula sa dalampasigan ng San Narciso.
Pede din naman magpalitrato sa mga nagagandahang lugar ng resort na maari ninyong samahan ng mga OOTD ninyo. Tulad ng nabanggit kanina, napaka-instagrammable ng lugar. Kelangan dala lang ninyo ang malikhaing imahinasyon ninyo.
Pedeng matulog ka lang sa loob ng tirahan ninyo o di kaya ay kumain. Sa Crystal Beach, hindi masamang maging batugan ng isang araw. Basta siguraduhin lang na handa kang makipag-jamming sa gabi kasama ang kanilang banda at makipagkaibigan sa iba pang mga bisita.
Higit sa lahat, ang pinakapaborito kong ginawa sa Crystal Beach ay ang tumambay sa dalampasigan habang nagmamasid sa araw ng dumaraan.
Sampung bituin ang inilalaan ko para sa Ten Toes On The Nose Jungle Hostel ng Crystal Beach. Nakakatuwa ang aming karanasan dito. Bagama't may nakapagsabi na hindi daw ganun kagandahan ang lugar, kami ay natuwa sa aming pagbisita dito. Nagustuhan namin ang "laid-back vibe" ng lugar na nakakatanggal ng pagod at stress.
Isa na ito sa naging paborito kong lugar na pasyalan na malapit sa Maynila. Yung mga tipong lugar na kung kelangan mo ng mabilis na puntahan para makapag-relax, dito ka maaring tumungo.
Bagama't hanggang ngayon sinusubukan ko pa rin intindihin kung bakit mo ipapatong ang sampung daliri ng iyong paa sa iyong ilong.
Pahabol na Byahe: Simbahan ng San Narciso
Itinalaga and Simbahan ng San Narciso, kilala rin sa tawag ng Simbahan ng Sebastian, sa taong 1849 makaraang mabuo ang bayan ng San Narciso. Ang kasalakuyang simbahan, maliban sa harapan nito, ay mula sa unang gusali na itinayo noong 1849.
Nakakamangha ang ganda ng harapan ng simbahan. May dalawa itong kampanaryo sa dalawang gilid ng simbahan na may “mosaic art” ni San Sebastian at ng Ina Poon Bato na siyang nagpaganda sa harapan ng simbahan. Ang loob ng simbahan ay malawak at simple ang pagkakadisenyo. Kapansin-pansin din ang pinintang imahe ni Hesus sa kisame sa altar ng simbahan.
Makikita rin na ang “Centennial Bells” ng San Narciso sa patyo ng simbahan. Ang maliit na kampana ay hinubog noong 1846 matapos mabuo ang bayan ng San Narciso. Ang mga kampanang ito ang unang naging kampana ng unang simbahan na itinayo sa pook na ito.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Gaya ng unang kong naisulat, natutuwa ako sa byahe naming ito sa Crystal Beach Resort sa San Narciso sa Zambales. Ito ay isang lugar kung saan maari kang makapagpahinga mula sa karaniwang mundo sa syudad. Tahimik at talaga nga naming nakaka-relaks ang lugar na ito. Sabi ko nga… pang-beach chill ang lugar na ito. Yung tipong darating ka dito na wala kang iisipin gawin kung hindi magpahinga at makapag-enjoy. Hindi naman din salat ang lugar sa mga maari mong gawin kapag napagod ka na magpaka-batugan sa magandang paraan.
Sa aming pagbalik sa Maynila, naisip ko na maraming ganitong lugar sa Pilipinas na simpleng maganda ngunit hindi napapansin dahil ang hanap ng iba ay yung mga baybayin na mapuputi ang buhangin. Hindi nila alintana na ang tunay na gandang lugar ay hindi lamang nasusukat sa ganda ng paligid kundi sa karanasan at kahalagahan na maibibigay ng mga taong namamahala ng mga lugar na ito.
Getting There: Ang Victory Liner sa Cubao ay may mga byaheng pa-Sta. Cruz at Iba, Zambales na dumadaan sa San Narciso. Sabihin lang ninyo sa konduktor na ibaba kayo sa Simbahan ng San Narciso. Mula sa simbahan, pede kayong sumakay ng traysikel papunta sa Crystal Beach Resort.
Maari din kayong sumakay ng bus papuntang Olongapo kung saan makakasakay kayo ng bus o van na papuntang Sta. Cruz. Mas mainam na sumakay kayo ng rutang dadaan sa SCTEX para mabilis ang byahe.
Maari ninyong tawagan ang Crystal Beach Resort sa numerong (0930) 732 6015 para magbook sa Ten Toes On The Nose Jungle Hostel. Maari din ninyong kausapin sa kanilang Facebook account na Ten Toes In The Nose.
For more of our travel stories, follow us on our social media accounts:
My birth month is one that is full of anticipation and excitement. It is usually a time where I plan out a personal travel to discover a new destination as part of my celebration. This year turned to be more exciting as I got to discover Ilocandia and re-discover an all-around weekend destination - Tagaytay City!
Tagaytay City is probably the undisputed favorite weekend destination of Manilenos. Its proximity, cool climate, and varied offerings make it a spot for those searching for a quick escape from the city.
Located along a ridge, Tagaytay City sits at a height of 620 meters above sea level overlooking Taal Volcano. The city itself sits along the edge of the volcano's caldera that stretches from Mount Batulao to Mount Sungay. Apart from the panoramic view of the world's smallest volcano, the cool climate of Tagaytay is a huge come on for Metro Manila residents who want to escape the city heat even for just a couple of hours.
Day 1: A Hot Meal and Discovering the New
Arriving at Tagaytay just right before the lunch hour, we really did not have any planned itinerary for our first day. We were lucky to have found a quick way of commuting to Tagaytay although a bit pricier than the usual route but travel time was reduced to only about an hour.
Food Stop: Mahogany Market
There is a strong association between Bulalo, Tawilis, and Tagaytay. A trip to Tagaytay is never complete without having a meal that includes the Bulalo and Tawilis. Bulalo is a broth of tenderized beef and bone marrow seasoned with salt, ginger, and pepper while Tawilis is crunchy deep-fried small fish sourced from Taal Lake. Both viands go well together and the best place to enjoy it is in Mahogany Market.
Mahogany Market is the usual Filipino public market where you can find the home stuff that you need at a relatively cheaper price compared to supermarkets. One thing that makes Mahogany popular in Tagaytay are the "eateries" on its second floor where you can treat yourself with a hot bowl of Bulalo. They say that it is the best place to have a taste of this yummy beef broth in this city. Again, you can partner it up with deep-fried Tawilis for a complete Tagaytay gastronomic experience.
If are still craving for more of the beef broth soup, Mahogany Market is also a good place to buy beef meat products in Tagaytay. The first floor of the public market is lined with market stalls that has a wide offering of beef products to choose from. And while you are at it, you can also bring home other Tagaytay products like coffee, dried Tawilis, and other goodies being offered by ambulant vendors or from the stalls around the market.
Getting There: You can take a jeep from the Olivarez Plaza heading to Mahogany Market. Fare is at Php8. You can ask the driver to drop you off at the Mahogany Market. Landmark is the Tagaytay Hall of Justice.
Tagaytay City prides itself as a "City of Character" and the values are imbedded in their faith. The "Praying Hands" is a symbolic artwork that reflects Tagaytay's core value. The sculpture of two hands folded in prayer is a profession of the deep faith that locals would like to impart to its future generations.
I have seen the evolution of the artwork from its red-hued industrial design to its current folded hand sculpture. Its new design is more appealing and straightforward with its message of a hand in prayer, reaching out to the heavens.
Getting there: You take a jeep from Mahogany Market bound for Olivarez. You can ask the driver to drop you off at Sky Ranch. The sculpture stands across Sky Ranch. Fare is at Php8.
The theme park, developed by SM, sits on a ridge that has an amazing view of Taal Volcano. The theme park has a collection of fun and thrilling rides that will definitely catch the fancy of the kids and kids at heart. For those looking for a quick adrenaline rush, you can try the zipline where you get to experience flying with Taal Volcano in the background.
The main attraction of Sky Ranch is the "Tagaytay Eye". The ferris wheel is one of the tallest in the country standing at 63 meters above the ground. It can give its riders a panoramic view of Tagaytay and the surrounding areas at its apex.
Getting there: Sky Ranch is just right across Tagaytay's Praying Hands
41st USAFFE Memorial Shrine
We stumbled upon the memorial shrine by accident as we were headed back to Destination Hotel, our home in Tagaytay. A statue of a soldier caught my attention that I quickly crossed the street to further investigate on my latest "discovery".
The 41st USAFFE Memorial Shrine was built in honor of the brave men who mobilized along the Tagaytay ridge in 1941 to fight off the Japanese Imperial Forces. Etched on its walls are the names of 6000 soldiers who took this brave stand prior to the battle in Bataan.
It was interesting to find a part of Philippine and world history in this charming city. It was also interesting to note that Tagaytay City was also a strategic location during the war.
Getting there: The memorial is just a few meters from the Tagaytay's Praying Hands, towards the direction of the Rotunda.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
The Our Lady of Lourdes is the center of faith of Tagaytay City and it is one of the churches frequently visited by the faithful especially during the Lenten season. The massive church is hard to miss because it sits along the main highway going to Batangas.
The church is a picture of serenity with its wide courtyard with trellis walkways adorned by flowering plants. A fountain is the centerpiece of the courtyard.
The exterior of the church is simple and elegant with a balcony atop its main door. The image of the Our Lady of Lourdes by the balcony is the focal point of the facade.
One thing that really struck me was the massive interior of the church. The altar was divided into three area. The central area is highlighted by the image of the Crucified Christ placed in a simple and elegant pulpit. Two adjacent altars were installed in both sides with one bearing the image of the Our Lady of Lourdes.
Getting there: You can take a jeep to Olivarez from the previous jeepney stop where we disembarked previously. Ask the driver to drop you off at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Jeepney Fare is at Php8.
Day 2: Re-discovering the Old Tagaytay
Prior to the urban development of Tagaytay, the city was a quaint destination that offered public parks, that overlooked Taal Volcano, for picnics and a place frequented by the faithful and the religious. It was a place that offered physical and spiritual rejuvenation. While most of the urban development is on the western side of the ridge, the east side has maintained the old feel of Tagaytay. Our second day was all about breathing in the old charm of this city.
People's Park of Tagaytay
The story of this park started out with the construction of a mansion by the Marcos administration in 1981 but was later abandoned after the administration was overthrown. This left an unfinished structure in Mount Sungay, Cavite's highest peak. The unfinished mansion became a popular destination in no time with its abandoned structure that offered a commanding view of Taal Volcano and the surrounding lowland areas.
I have seen through the years how the park was developed. From a simple abandoned structure, we can now see a more tourist feel of the place with its outdoor theater, picnic huts, a prayer chapel, and its line of souvenir shops. People visit the place to enjoy the amazing views that it offers and, if you are lucky, you will also get to enjoy the nippy Tagaytay weather while exploring the PAGASA weather station that sits adjacent to the structural remains of the mansion.
It was referred to in different names previously, Palace in the Sky, People's Park in the Sky, etc., and at the heart of this attraction is the abandoned and unfinished mansion. It was probably designed to showcase an architectural beauty but it cannot be denied that what remains of it now was seen as a reflection of a lavish lifestyle.
Getting there: You can take a trike and ask the driver to bring you to the jeepney station headed for People's Park. Trike fare is at Php30 and Jeepney fare per head is at Php18. Drop off is right at the gates of the park. Park Fee is at Php30.
Tagaytay Picnic Grove
Another old and famous attraction in the city is the Tagaytay Picnic Grove. Before the opening of Sky Ranch, this picnic area was the "it" place for both kids and the kids-at-heart. The 13.5-hectare park is located along a steep incline of the Tagaytay Ridge and boasts of having the most awesome view of Taal Volcano. In fact, most of the postcard pictures that you see in bookstores is from the vantage point of the park.
Interestingly, a marker was installed in the park that outlines the geological details of Taal Volcano and the surrounding ridge.
The park has been developed and has more activities to offer for its guests. At Php350 per hour, one can already enjoy horseback riding, the oldest leisure activity in the park. One can also try out the park's zipline or its cable ride that will give you a commanding view of Taal Volcano and the greens along the ridge.
For those who simply want to relax, you can try exploring the park through its nature trail complete with a hanging bridge where you get to enjoy nature and the cool weather.
You can then cap off your visit by lounging around its view decks or having a picnic while enjoying the view of Taal Volcano.
Getting there: You can hitch a jeepney ride from the gates of Palace in the Sky to the jeepney station headed to Olivarez. Fare is at Php5. You then transfer to another jeep with the sign board "Olivarez". You can ask the driver to drop you off at the Picnic Grove. Fare is at Php8. Park Fees is at Php50.
Our Lady of Manaoag
Walking about 500 meters from the Picnic Grove towards the direction of the Tagaytay Rotunda, a towering 50-meter red image of the Virgin Mary will catch your attention. The shrine is a replica of Pangasinan's Our Lady of Manaoag.
Behind the huge image is a small chapel where devotees can offer their prayers and supplications. You can also climb up to the shrine's top floors and offer distinct prayers to the different saints that line the walls of the shrine.
You can also climb up to the roof deck of the shrine to get a closer look of the image of the Our Lady of Manaoag or enjoy the surrounding areas of the shrine.
From the roof deck of the Our Lady of Manaoag Shrine, one can get a top view of a garden that once bloomed there known as the Japanese Garden. The manicured lawns of the garden was a symbol of freedom, peace, and international unity.
Unfortunately, the garden was already neglected and much of its manicured lawn has been overran by weeds.
Ina ng Laging Saklolo Church
Tagaytay is one destination that has a lot of churches and retreat houses. Ina ng Laging Saklolo Church is one of the popular church stops in the city.
The quaint church boasts a simple facade that is bordered by a pillar on both sides - one serving as a belfry and the other one bearing the cross. The simplicity of the church design extends to its interior. The altar has an image of the Crucified Christ as its highlight.
The stained glass windows of the church is hard to miss and gives the church an elegant touch.
Food Stop: Bag-o-Beans
Tagaytay City is one of the places where you get to enjoy chilling out with a hot cup of coffee. I guess the cool climate of the city make it a complete experience. Rather than going for the usual cafes that you find in the metro, we strongly recommend that you check out Tagaytay's home grown café, Bag-o-Beans.
Bag-o-Beans have a number of cafes in the city. One of their old shops relocated within walking distance of the Our Lady of Lourdes Church. The cozy café now has a bed and breakfast facility who wants to enjoy an overnight experience of the homey and rustic atmosphere of Tagaytay. They serve good old Tagaytay coffee that also go well with their pastries. They also have a shop where you can buy their products as “pasalubong” for your friends and family members.
Make sure to swing by Bag-o-Beans before heading back to Manila to complete your Tagaytay experience.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
Tagaytay City has gone through a lot of changes over the years. From a simple and rustic community to a bustling metropolis, the city has more to offer now that would delight your senses and palate. It has slowly grown to be more than just a weekend destination but to a quick escape from the city at any given time.
It was nice to discover the new and re-discover the old of Tagaytay. Despite the changes towards urbanization, the city has maintained its old charm. It has managed to keep its old attractions interesting despite the introduction of new ones. However, there is a strong need to put focus on the upkeep and re-vitalization of Tagaytay’s old attractions as these spots helps the newer generations connect to Tagaytay’s rich history.
Getting There: Getting to Tagaytay by commute is now easier. You can take a van bound for Nasugbu from their station located beside Kabayan Hotel in Pasay City. Fares are more expensive at Php180 per head but travel time is faster (about 1.5 to 2 hours depending on traffic) compared to taking the bus.
Destination Hotel is a good hotel to stay in. They have good rooms and offer great service. Its location is also close to Olivarez which makes all spots featured in this blog accessible. You can get good rates through Travel Book here.
For more of our travel stories, follow us on our social media accounts:
The beat was inviting and, at one point, had us dancing to the rhythm that has spanned decades of prayers and celebration. The long procession had us walking under the sun while enjoying the smiles and the hospitality of locals and pilgrims who came to enjoy the festivities and, with some, seeking to be blessed with a child. This is Obando’s Fertility Dance – a celebration of life in Obando and a prayerful dance for life.
Bordered by Valenzuela, Malabon, Navotas, Bulacan, and Manila Bay, Obando was first recognized as an independent town of Bulacan in 1907. The area was once an enclosed body of water that through the years accumulated sand forming land masses that later on will be converted into commercial and residential districts.
Saliw ng Ritmo
What started out as a fiesta lunch out turned into a festive celebration with a flick of a finger. We found ourselves in the middle of a long procession and sandwiched by a brass band playing out the tune "Santa Clara Pinung Pino" behind us and a group of devotees dancing to the tune with so much energy. The rhythm and the simple steps were intoxicating that we found ourselves springing into the dance every now and then.
The "Fertility Dance of Obando" takes its roots from a pagan celebration that was later on adapted by the Catholic faith honoring Santa Clara, San Pascual, and the Nuestra Senyora de Salambao. The celebration kicks off on the 17th of May and runs until the 19th. Each day honors one of the patron saints with a mass followed by a procession filled with music and dancing.
The dance celebration is one of the popular festivities often mentioned in our history and culture classes. In fact, the celebration was even mentioned in the book, Noli Me Tangere, penned by our own National Hero Jose Rizal.
Sayaw ng Pasasalamat
Despite its popularity, the "Fertility Dance of Obando" stands for its own down to earth street dancing, steering away from the usual grand fiesta presentations with lavish costumes and, for some, even backdrops. It is an honest-to-goodness dancing on the street where locals and guests can comfortably join in, amidst the smiles of Obando residents.
The merrymaking is a mix of both the old and the new. There are families and groups who dress up in the usual fandango attire and straw hats as they dance to the beat of the brass band. And there are the younger generation who dance with their regular daily attire. There is no competition on who dances better or who has the better costumes. It is simply everyone dancing during the procession.
Interestingly, the fiesta is a venue for Obando to profess their faith and thanksgiving to their patron saints. It is not just mere merrymaking by the community, it is a dance of thanksgiving for a good year and a prayer seeking for better years ahead. It is an opportunity for families from Obando to gather in their hometown and share their stories and blessings. And mind you, there is a lot to share that it overflows to the streets in the form of drinks and light snacks that anyone can partake during the procession.
Padyak ng Panalangin
Beyond the festivities and merrymaking, the "Sayaw sa Obando" holds a culturally significant and historical belief among Filipinos. It is believed that couples who are having a hard time having a baby are encouraged to join the procession and the dancing to honor the patron saints. Local customs in Obando state that in doing so the couple will be granted the gift of life in the form of a newborn baby. In fact some of the devotees who join the procession, dance with babies in their arms saying that their dancing is no longer for seeking a blessing but a dance of thanksgiving for a granted prayer.
At the heart of the celebration is the Obando Church where the celebration starts and ends. The first church was established in 1754 and was destroyed during World War 2. It was rebuilt in 1947 and it was only in 1972 when the "Sayaw sa Obando" celebration was revived.
The simple facade of the church stands in complete contrast to the colorful fiesta decorations around it. Throngs of people flock to the church as the last group of dancers enters the church grounds. The inside of the church is filled to the brim with devotees that I found it hard to appreciate the church's interiors.
As we took a break from the street dancing, we found ourselves wandering inside the small plaza of Obando. It had monuments installed within its ground honoring the brave Filipinos who fought for our independence.
It was great to see that in a small town like Obando, locals put value, not only on our heritage, but also with the heroism of the Filipinos who came before us in their own little way.
POST TRAVEL NOTES
The music and the rythm of Obando's Fertility Dance was inviting. It was hard to resist the tempo. But unlike the grander streetdance celebrations that has been popularized mainstream, Obando has kept their celebration focused at its core - devotion and thanksgiving. It has managed to keep their street dancing a mirror of the simple and yet fun life of a small Philippine town. The festivity is the old-fashioned way of a Philippine fiesta where anyone is welcomed in the community with open arms.
The colorful fiesta celebrations of the Philippines is not only confined to the lavish and grand festivities that we are familiar with. There are the small town celebrations that are equally fun and interesting. The "Fertility Dance of Obando" is one celebration that highlights the rich heritage of our Filipino tradition. It is great to see that they have managed to keep it simple and appealing despite the temptation to make it "eye-catching". One cannot deny that "Sayaw sa Obando" is a thanksgiving celebration and prayer to life and for life.
Getting There: One can take a bus or the MRT/LRT to Monumento. You can then take a jeep (Jeep station is behind Victory Mall) with the signboard “Paco”. You can ask the driver to drop you off at the Obando Church. The “Fertility Dance of Obando is celebrated every 17th to the 19th of May.
For more of my travel stories, follow me on our social media accounts:
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.