Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Fiesta in Parian, Cebu, Philippines
The Fiesta celebration of the Parian District in Old Cebu, Philippines came to pass, without rain and with old world touches. First the tridium (3 day) pre-Fiesta prayers were held at the Casa Gorordo, and attended by members of the Cofradia of St. John the Baptist. There was one evening when the rain fell and the wind blew, but it quickly passed.
The actual fiesta day was yesterday, June 24. Members of the Cofradia met in Casa Gorordo at 5 p.m. Each one was assigned to carry a standard with a painting of one aspect of St. John's life. Visiting scholar from the University of Wisconsin, Michael Cullinane carried a standard as well. There were three antique carrosas: one carrying statues of the Holy Family, the second carrying two statues of the young John and Jesus, and the third carrying the antique statues of John baptizing Christ, with an angel by the side. The carrosas (carriages) were decorated with fresh flowers and pulled by men. The lineup then was: Holy Family carrosa, some standard bearers, Young John and Jesus, some standard bearers, adult John and Jesus, followed by candle-bearing devotees who trailed behind.
There was a 5:30 Mass in the Parian chapel. It was concelebrated by four priests from the Cathedral, including Msg. Alesna who now heads the Cathedral. After the Mass, the procession started. It wound around the small district. The highlight of the procession, was when the carrosas passed by Casa Gorordo. Following old tradition, each carrosas stopped in front of the window facing the street. Below there were seranaders who sang religious songs, accompanied by guitarists; and above, viewers threw down flower petals onto the carrosas.
It was also quite nice to "process" in front of the Yap-Sandiego antique house. The house was dolled up, with dining tables and above, guests of Val and Booging watched the procession.
There is another section in the Parian where people decorate the street with banana trees and fireworks and they watch from the balcony.
After the procession, the carrosas, and banners were returned to the side of the Casa Gorordo for storage. There was an induction of the 3 new Cofradia members: Teresita Manguerra, Chona Bernad, and me. There was dinner in the lovely garden of the Casa Gorordo, simply stunning that balmy star-studded night.
For entertainment, there was singing and dancing provided by the Sandiego Troupe. It was delightful to see the Franco sisters, Marilou Chiongbian, and many others in Filipiniana attire. Seen among the guests: Resil Mojares, Linda Alburo, Chinggay Utzurrum, Inday Blanco, Erma Cuizon, Jaime Picornell, Beth Reyes, and the Manguerra kids and grandkids were also there.
Cofradia members Louie Nacorda, Pepit Gorordo Revilles, Joy Gerra, Gavin Bagares,Cheding Hermosa, Margie Mattheus were flitting about talking to city officials, their Manila, US guests, and others.
And down the street, Val and Booging Sandiego hosted their first fiesta celebration in the antique house. We visited the house, talked to Val's mother, Luz Mancao Sandiego (a friend of a Cuenco-aunt) and admired the recent developments in this beautiful treasure of a house. The downstairs has now been opened up; they discovered a window and a door, that leads to nowhere now, but it's fun to speculate that it once led to a garden. The ancient well still has fresh water! The Yap-Sandiego is such a magical place, I highly recommend it as a must-see if you are in Cebu.
For more pictures of the Fiesta, click here, Louie Nacorda's flicker site.
All for now,
(top photo: Cecilia Brainard, photo by Louie Nacorda;
next photo l-r: Chona Bernad, Terry Manguerra, Loy Alix, Cecilia Brainard, Marilou Chiongbian
Other photo shows Casa Gorordo with guests throwing flowers)
Cecilia Manguerra Brainard is the award-winning author of 9 books, including When the Rainbow Goddess Wept, Magdalena, Vigan and Other Stories, and Out of Cebu: Essays and Personal Prose. She edited four books, co-edited six books, and co-authored a novel, Angelica's Daughters. Her work has been translated into Finnish and Turkish; and many of her stories and articles have been widely anthologized. Cecilia has received many awards, including a California Arts Council Fellowship in Fiction, a Brody Arts Fund Award, a Special Recognition Award for her work dealing with Asian American youths, as well as a Certificate of Recognition from the California State Senate, 21st District, and the Outstanding Individual Award from her birth city, Cebu, Philippines. She has received several travel grants from the USIS. She has lectured and performed at UCLA, USC, University of Connecticut, University of the Philippines, PEN, Shakespeare & Company in Paris, and many others. She teaches creative writing at the Writers Program at UCLA-Extension.