Passi City Takes Great Pride in Pintados Tradition

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

PASSI CITY, Iloilo is celebrating Pintados de Pasi Festival on March 10-24, 2018 alongside with its 20th Cityhood Anniversary.

Themed “Go, Passi! Soar to Greater Height!,” the festival is an effort to preserve cultural heritage.

The annual festivity of tattoo tradition highlights their community’s journey with a series of events for 3 weeks.

March 10 (Saturday) is for the Mass and Opening Program, Recognition of Awardees, Opening of Food Festival, Passi Peoples Trade Fair, Garden Show and Concert at the Park with Live Band;

March 11 -24 for Food Festival, Passi Peoples Trade Fair, and Garden Show; March 12 (Monday) Concert at the Park; March 13 (Tuesday) Concert at the Park;

March 14 (Wednesday) 20th Cityhood Anniversary with Pintados Street Dancing at 8 a.m. and Mass at 5 p.m.; March 15 – 19 with Concert at the Park; March 20 (Tuesday) Bb. Pintados 2018 Talents Competition at 4 p.m.;

March 21 (Wednesday) Parade and Pasundayag at 8 a.m., Golden Hearts Award and Handuraw at 7 p.m.; March 22 (Thursday) Laro ng Lahi, Pinta Lawas, and Ginoong Pintados; March 23 (Friday) Karosa Parada and Karabaw Pagwapa and Pagwapo at 7 a.m. with the Coronation Night of Bb. Pintados at 7 p.m.;

March 24 (Saturday) Mass, Pintados Tribe Competition at 8 a.m., Awarding Ceremonies and Fireworks Display at 6 p.m., Night with the Stars at 7 p.m.;

March 25 (Sunday) Thanksgiving Mass; April 6 (Friday) Judging Pintados 2018 Photo Contest; April 8 (Sunday) Awarding Ceremony for Photo Contest; April 8 -16 Photo Exhibit of winning Pintados photos.

Tattooing was highly revered and ritualized in the Visayas. It usually begins during adolescence. The patterns are one of a kind and are always highly intricate and detailed. The marks display the craftsmanship and artistry of not only the artist but of the local culture.

The complex art of body tattooing existed in the Visayan Islands long before the arrival of Spanish to our shores. Known to be “Pintados,” they were fierce and noble warriors covered with intricate solid patterns all over their body.

Only people of rank or status were allowed to have tattoos. A person who did not have any high-ranking social status and those who could not have a tattoo were seen as people of lower status.

The designs were not meant as an embellishment to their bodies, rather mark a rite of passage like that from childhood into adulthood or as a mark to begin their journey of becoming a fearsome warrior.

For men, the most common are the ones on their chests, tattooed only to those who successfully waged war. Series are added to it depending on the number of succeeding battles won. At times, patterns extend to their backs arms, thighs, and legs. The bravest warrior is believed to be tattooed on the face.

Women also possess tattoos on their body, mostly in the chin area, arms, and fingers where they are seen in our local culture as sexual lures or signs of fertility and beauty.

For Pintados de Pasi festival, this traditional art honored through dance accompanied by music and occasional chanting has made a strong impact in the community as the people have inserted their own meanings and themes into this traditional artwork. For Passinhons, Pintados tattooing has remained their cultural symbol.

The City of Passi City is 50 kilometers away (an hour and 20-minute drive) from Iloilo City. It is located in the central portion of the province and can be reached via the Iloilo-Capiz National Highway.  It is politically subdivided into 51 barangays over a land area of 25,068 hectares. It shares boundaries with San Enrique in the north; in the south is Dumarao, Capiz; Calinog in the east; and Lemery in the west.

Visitors to Passi City can take the bus at the new Ceres Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information about the celebration, please contact City Tourism Officer Gina Palmares at (033) 3115087/ 3115947.

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