By: Marvin Dela Cuesta- Benorilla and Von Cruz
Unique, creative, colorful, and lively, these are just few reasons how Angono Fiesta made it to the Department of Tourism calendar of events for November.
Angono Fiesta, or the celebration of the feast of St. Clement in Angono, is highlighted by the Pagoda or Fluvial Procession in Laguna de Bay to commemorate the life of St. Clement here on earth. A huge altar is place on top of five huge fisherman’s boat, that carries the image of the saints and devotee in the lake part of Angono. The procession in-land is joined by mestizo looking giant paper mache effigy called Higantes. These Higantes are significant in the history of Angono when it was still a hacienda. They were made as a form of protest against the hacienderos to secretly make fun of them during fiesta. Later, these giant effigies became part of the merry making, an icon, symbol of the town, and an attraction to local and foreign tourists who witnessed the celebration. The procession is also participated by parehadoras or groups of ladies in colorful costumes holding boat paddles and wearing wooden sandals or bakya. They dance and march to the tune of the marching band. Peoples who joining the procession pour water to each other as part of the tradition. The festive mood continues until the image was brought back to the Church.
This richness in culture and tradition of Angono and the deep devotion to St. Clement, moved natives of Angono to celebrate the Feast where ever they are in all parts of the world. The associations of people from Angono, Rizal organize themselves on this month of November to celebrate the Feast. Here in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the celebration is sphere headed by the Angono, Rizal Association of Winnipeg or A.R.A.W. led by Gina Samson.
The nine day novena in honor of St. Clement is held every night in the house of this year’s Hermano Mr. & Mrs. Joey & Lea Sulit. It started on November 13th to the 21st.The traditional dancing is also performed to mimic the dancing in the church patio every after Novena Mass way back home. On Nov. 22, after the nine day Novena, a mass is held together with community at St. Joseph’s Parish at Mountain Avenue, followed by the annual fiesta celebration at the church’s hall where ARAW members share sumptuous food and delicacies to one another. Just like the way we celebrate the feast in our home town, ARAW ended the event with their own version of Pagoda or fluvial procession thru dancing around the hall together with their own Higantes, parehadoras, and image of St. Clement.
Globally, the people from Angono celebrate the feast to pray and give thanks to the Almighty for a bountiful harvest, good health, and blissful life. VIVA SAN CLEMENTE!!!