Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin
TIGBAUAN, Iloilo will celebrate its annual Pagdaug-Saludan Festival on March 12 – 18, 2018. The entire community throws a huge celebration to commemorate the landing of the 40th Infantry Division’s 185th Infantry Regiment on the shores in Barangay Parara to free the Ilonggos against the Japanese Imperial Armies on March 18, 1945.
73 years later, the story continues to live in the minds and hearts of every Tigbauanons. It also highlights how they were able to rebuild their lives and carry on with their traditions and culture.
The celebration opens on March 12 (Monday) with an Agri-Trade Fair fronting Tourism Office at 8 a.m., Salud Dugo Bloodletting activity at 9 a.m. at the RHU and Parade and Street Dancing Competition at 2:30 p.m.
On March 13 (Tuesday), the Pagdaug-Saludan Quiz Elementary Level will happen at TCES, 9 a.m., Battle of the Brains Secondary Level at the Covered Gym at 9 a.m. and Sireyna Queen 2018 at the Covered Gym at 7 p.m.; March 14 (Wednesday) Pagdaug-Saludan Cooking Competition at the OSCA Grounds at 9 a.m., 3on3 Basketball Games at the Covered Gym at 9 a.m.
March 15 (Thursday) will feature the SCFAI 25th Foundation Day at the Covered Gym at 8 a.m. and Drum Corps Competition at the TCES at 2 p.m., March 16 (Friday) Pagdaug-Saludan Festival Queen at the Covered Gym at 7 p.m.; March 17 (Saturday) Tribal Dance Competition at 2:30 p.m.; March 18 (Sunday) Liberation of Panay and Romblon Day with a Mass at Parara Sur Chapel at 6:30 a.m., Floral Offering at the Landmark at 8:30 a.m., Program for Victory Day at the METES at 9 a.m., Lunch (Budol-Budol) at the METES at 12 p.m. and Liberation Party at the Plaza at 8 p.m.
Based on the book “The Liberation of Panay” by Ma. Cielito G. Reyno, three years prior to the coming of the Allied Forces, the whole island of Panay was already a liberated zone courtesy of the 6th Military District under the command of Colonel Macario Peralta Jr. along with 20,000 local guerrillas.
In October 1944, Col. Peralta received an order from Gen. Douglas McArthur to prepare for the Allied Forces landing plan and to attack certain areas with Japanese garrisons.
Since the Tiring Landing Field in Cabatuan has more or less 250 Japanese, the full-scale attack happened early in February 1945, targeting Iloilo City, Pavia, Molo, Oton, San Miguel, Lapaz, and Tigbauan. Heavy fighting extended until the end of February with Japanese casualties numbering to 700. The battle resumed in March this time with the support of US planes.
In the early morning of March 18, the Allied Forces from the 40th Division led by Major General Rapp Brush landed on Tigbauan. Instead of meeting the enemies, they were received by a rousing welcome from Ilonggo civilians and fighters alike led by Col. Peralta.
On March 20th, General Eichelberger, along with his contingent entered the city of Iloilo which was already freed from enemy troops. They were welcomed by a cheering crowd. It was on the 22nd of March 1945 that General MacArthur officially declared that Iloilo City was liberated.
The highlight of the festivity is the tribal dance competition celebrated this year on March 17, Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Performing in a routine manner in three judging areas, tribes will showcase their interpretations of the segments Pagdaug and Saludan.
The Pagdaug segment highlights the struggles of the locals against the Japanese Imperial Army until liberated by the Allied forces. Saludan showcases Tigbauans’ unique fishing and agricultural practice through Panalud, a Hiligaynon word coined from salud or the traditional way of gathering or accumulating a thing for its interest or value such as threshing rice using a basket, catching fingerlings through nets or extracting coconut sap or locally known as tuba from the bud of the coconut’s inflorescence.
Tigbauan is 22.5 kilometers or a 30-minute ride south of Iloilo City. The town is politically subdivided into 52 barangays over a land area of 6,062 hectares.
To get to the town, one can ride Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miagao or San Joaquin jeepneys at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo.
For more information, please contact Municipal Tourism Officer Linda Fe Camina at 09173283997.