Saad Festival: Marking an Important Religious Event in the Lives of Leganesnons & San Joaquin Fiesta Highlights Pasungay

January 12, 2017 01:06 AM

Saad Festival

Marking an Important Religious Event in the Lives of Leganesnons

Text by: Bombette G. Marin

Photos by: Ray Tabafunda

LEGANES, Iloilo, celebrates the festivity of St. Vincent Ferrer, the town’s patron saint with the annual Saad Festival celebrated this year on January 24 – 31, 2017.

The celebration is one of the most-anticipated folk religious festivals in Iloilo. Parades and parties erupt in the area in his honour. It sees people near and far participating and celebrating.


Saad or Hiligaynon word ‘vow,’ is one of the major festivals in Iloilo. It is a mixture of Catholic and ancient local influences.

Various religious ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration, marks the festivity adding colour and integrity to the municipality. The festival reinforces the presence of God in the life of every Leganesnons, their families and the community as a whole.

St. Vincent Ferrer is the most beloved religious icon in Leganes. He is known as the Church’s greatest source of miracles and one of the most influential politicians, theologians, intellectuals and philosophers of his time.

He is popularly known as the “Angel of Healing” because of his gift to cure the sick. Believers had recourse to him in every difficulty. He is also the patron saint of fishermen and builders.

The party environment raises everyone’s spirits as it is one occasion and opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones.  The Opening Salvo will be on scheduled January 24 (Tuesday); Miss Saad Pageant on January 27 (Friday); Sinadsad Dance Parade on January 30 (Saturday); Saad Cultural Presentation on a Sunday, January 31st.

The highlight of the festival is the cultural dance presentation which imbues a unique vibrancy. The presentations are dance-dramas likely to show suffering sin or shame other than worship.

Folk dance steps are incorporated into the regular worship steps expressing joy in the dance and using a lot of additional arm movements.

Traditionally, the arms are often raised up toward the sky, or in front of the body as if reaching out to God. The arms can also be held out to the sides to symbolize Christ, surrender to God, or openness to healing and restoration.

The Palapak or the act of pressing the image of St. Vincent Ferrer on the head of a devotee is a special feature of the dance choreography.

Palapak is a popular practice amongst many faithful who suffer from various sickness and even those with physical disabilities hoping that a miracle might happen through their patron’s intercession. It has been said that various miraculous healing have been attributed by the faithful to their vow of devotion to St. Vincent Ferrer.

Much of the music has a definite local flavour using a medley of old Hiligaynon favorites. Every performances ends with shouts of “San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!,” with a dance for joy to praise their patron saint for his deliverance.

Now on its 13th year, Saad as a festival was previously celebrated every April in commemoration of his death anniversary. It was in 2015 that the month of January his birth month became the permanent town’s festival date.

The fourth class municipality of Leganes is about 11 kilometers away or a 30-minute drive from Iloilo City. It is one of the 19 coastal towns of the province and the only coastal municipality that shares a common border with the city.


The town is adjacent to Pavia in the southeast; in the west by Sta. Barbara; and in the north by Zarraga. To get there, one can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza, Iloilo City. For more information, please call the Municipal Tourism Officer Jerry Anas at (033) 3296622 or at 09127721033.




San Joaquin Fiesta Highlights Pasungay

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

SAN Joaquin, Iloilo marks its Municipal Fiesta on January 16-21, 2017 with the annual Pasungay- Pahibag (Bull and Horse Fight) on Jan. 21, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. The event is the highlight of its 6-day Municipal Fiesta celebration.

January 16 (Monday) Opening Day with a parade and Liga Night with special performance from the Hashtag; January 17 (Tuesday) Drum Corps Parade and the Search for Dayang Kang Bayluhay; January 18 (Wednesday) Fun Run; January 19 (Thursday) Bayluhay Festival Street Dance and Tribe Competition; January 20 (Friday) Sarswela and Balikbayan Night; January 21 (Saturday) Pasungay and the Coronation of Municipal Fiesta Queen.

San Joaquin is an unending succession of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and mountain peaks. In between the sea and mountain are stretches of flat lands.

People especially in the upland barangays of the town conduct bull or horse fights as a special featured event during celebrations as a form of thanksgiving or to honour a special guest during a celebrated occasion. This tradition dates back about hundreds of years.

Horse and bull fighting is a traditional sport in San Joaquin and has increased in popularity among its people as more and more San Joaquinhons began to take part. Horse and bull fights became part of its barangay to municipal fiesta. Later, it was designated as Pasungay.

The bull and horse fights lasts for only half a day and into the fight arena at the San Joaquin Sports Stadium come the magnificent and awesome bulls and horses, led by their owners.

The muscled, sturdy bulls and horses gather in the arena are itching to fight. Then it starts. The first few pairs of bulls attack at each other using their horns, they spin around and the exciting and absorbing fight arouses cheers from the hundreds of crowds of spectators.

Alternately, a pair of horse is brought inside the arena, pouncing at each other, they rear up and kick with their hind legs. Some spectators even climb trees to get a better view of the arena. Betting at times precedes the fight.

Ownership of a winning bull or horse is some form of a status symbol. Bulls and horses are not only primary means of transport used to carry people and crops to the lowlands, but as medium of exchange in lieu of money. At times, bulls and horses are given to a bride as a dowry. And of course, the worthier bulls and horses are those which won more fights in horse and bull fighting event.

A second class municipality, San Joaquin is the last town south of the province of Iloilo. It is 85 kilometers away or an hour and twenty-minute drive from Iloilo City. It has a land area of 23,135 hectares subdivided into 85 barangays.


To get to the town, one can take a San Joaquin jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, take any bus at the Antique Terminal in Molo or at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Municipal Tourism Officer Erlyn Alunan at 09176619120.

Leave a Reply