Taguig celebrates River Festival in timeless sense of community

MANILA-- The City of Taguig bustles with celebration as it commemorates the annual Taguig River Festival this week.

The festivities take off from the Santa Anang Banak Festival, which is centered on the Taguig River and St. Anne, mother of the Virgin Mary and patroness of the city.

Folk legend says that in 1587, Taguig, then known as "pook mg mga taga-giik," plunged into crisis after farmers lost all their harvests. Amid their despair, Saint Anne and the little girl Mary appeared and then led them to the river suddenly teeming with "banak" (mullet).

The occurrence has been celebrated every July of the years to follow, concluding in a fluvial parade on the 26th, the feast of the saint.

The fluvial parade, "Pagodahan," fills the river with around 200 fishing boats, in a procession with the image of St. Anne.

Giving thanks for the past year's harvest, the fishers would throw their harvest � from santol and ponkan to chocolates and more � at the crowds along the riverbank. Some spectators would bring baseball gloves and umbrellas to catch them. Pagodahan also features the pasubo or the exchange of traditional food and other goodies among boat riders and local residents.

Even as the fisher-farmer community has turned into one of the most vibrant economic hubs in the country, Taguig City has deliberately kept with the tradition.

"The spirit of the festival from centuries ago must inspire us now," said the mayor. "Even as we aim high, we must always go back to that sense of community. With that interconnectedness in mind, we would leave no one behind."

The other events want to celebrate that heritage.

This year, the merrymaking was spread out in two weeks, beginning with a kickoff motorcade on July 15.

On July 22, Taguigenos joined "Isang Araw, Isang Ilog, Isang Malasakit sa Kalunsuran," a cleanup drive. In the evening of July 23, the city hosted a talent search at St. Anne Patio.

Folk dance competitions for high and elementary schools were held at the same venue all-day on July 24. July 25 will see the Santa Ana River filled with spectators even before the sun shines. The city also hosted the annual "Regatta," or boat race early Tuesday then followed by the battle of the barangays in the"Pagandahan ng Bangkang Lunday."

The Pagodahan will be sandwiched with an extravaganza of talents in Poblacion village with the "Pasayo" at 6 am and the concluding fireworks display at St. Anne Patio, 7 pm.

"All these activities affirm that we are truly a 'probinsiyudad,'" noted Mayor Lani. "It sends the message that a place like ours is possible � a place where heritage and development, rural and urban living can coexist."

Source: Philippine News Agency