Traffic. heavy traffic. The road to the Obando town center is already temporarily closed so the jeep have to take a different and farther route. The same experience when I was in Pulilan to celebrate the Carabao Kneeling Festival. When the jeepney driver told us that we can take off, I immediately took off and began searching the Obando Church or the San Pascual de Baylon Parish Church.
An estimate of 4 or 5 blocks before I reached the Obando Church.
There is already a lot of people flocking around the church. A con-celebratory mass is being conducted while the dancers and the marching bands are waiting outside.
The weather is humid. I am already sweating upon my arrival and so does the other people. The heat is already crawling in my skin. "This must be a scorching hot day", I said to myself. Good thing, I am mentally prepared for the possible high temperature I will be experiencing this day.
The fertility dance rites are already celebrated way before the Spaniards came to the country. Though pagan in origin, the friars replaced the idols to saint figures. Talk about religious syncretism, pagan elements were able to be assimilated in the Catholic religion as it is a manifestation of how our ancestors adapt and eventually accept the Catholic faith.
Until this present, the Obando Fertility Rites are popular. Many couples, as well as tourist go to Obando to celebrate. Dancing the fandango in the music or Awiting Bayan of ~Santa Clara, Pinong Pino~♪ as the townsfolk and tourists go around the town inviting the people to join them dance.
It is already 9am, the time when the parade should have started. I heard from a committee member that the parade will start late. So I tour around the area and observe the people around. While most of the people are quite excited for the parade to start, others are finding a shade to defend themselves against the heat. It is just early in the morning and the sun is already giving the heat that is supposedly be experienced in the afternoon.
Legend has it, there was a childless couple from Hagonoy, Bulacan. A crab vendor approached them and suggested the couple to participate in the festivities of Obando in order for them to be blessed with a child. When the couple attended the festivity, they were stunned upon seeing the figure of San Pascual Baylon as his features were very similar to the crab vendor they have encountered.
St. Pascual Baylon has become the patron saint of fertility, wealth, and abundance. His surname, Baylon, derived from the Spanish word bailar meaning "to dance".
The parade started and people began to flock at the side street causing a tolerable commotion. Excitement can be felt as people wait for the fertility rite.
What I have noticed to the Our Lady of Salambao, is the fish net with crabs surrounding the saint figure. Later I learned that the Salambao is the patron saint of the fishermen for them to have a good harvest.
It is quite exhausting to dance around the whole town. People also have to endure the heat. However, it did not stop the joyous celebration of the fertility rites.
A part of me feels blessed just by being present in the festivity.
There should be a mass and a solemn parade later at night but I have to leave early since I will go to Bocaue for a scheduled interview for my term paper about the St. Kim Andrew Shrine <graduate school stuffs>.
Will be back tomorrow and the next day to witness the following days of the Obando Fertility Rites.
How to go to Obando Bulacan?
The Obando Fertility Rites are held during May 17, 18, and 19. It is suggested you come early to avoid the heavy traffic and to secure a seat if you would like to attend the mass at the morning.
-From Meycauayan McArthur Highway, ride a jeep going to Malanday/ Karuhatan/ Monumento. Tell the driver to take you off at Malanday.
-From Malanday, go to the jeepney terminal going to Polo/ Obando/ Bulakan. Tell the driver to take you off a Obando Church.
From Metro Manila (Monumento, Caloocan):
-Take a bus or jeepney to Malanday/Malinta.
-If you get off at Malinta, take a tricycle going to Tatawid. From Tatawid, take a jeepney going to Paco and get off at Obando Church.
-You may also take off at Malanday. Take a jeepney going to Obando. Tell the driver to take you off at Obando Church.
Ang "kenyo" ay salitang hango sa Bulakenyo. Layunin ko na mas makilala ang aking lalawigan.