Family reunions

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Strong family ties have been linked to Filipino culture for several centuries. Way back in colonial history, the Filipino family survived adversity and breezed through poverty with the admirable bond between its members. One factor which enhances this trait is the Filipinos’ religious zeal, partly ingrained on them by their Spanish colonizers and taught them about values like respect for elders and sharing of blessings.

Filipinos always look up to the Holy Family as an inspiration for them to always keep family ties strong. This is evident in giving importance to special occasions that involved gathering of family members, especially during times when a relative would be coming home from a long stay away from home.

The family reunion is the underlying theme of the Panagtagbo Festival in Mandaue City.


This is the symbolic meeting of the Child Jesus (Santo Niño), Mother Mary and St. Joseph at the National Shrine of St. Joseph highlighted by celebration by the locals.

The festival was supposed to be held a day before the Traslacion as part of the Sinulog festivities last January but was cancelled in view of the natural calamities that struck the Visayas region late last year. The Traslacion is said to be a unique event to Mandaue City.

Last year, the Panagtagbo festival street dancing competition was held for the first time, culminating at the “front yard” of St. Joseph church.

Contingents representing the different barangays in Mandaue showcased their joyous interpretations of how the Holy Family gave impact to their lives. One important part of the performance was the “reunion,” with the images of the Santo Nino, the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph on top of vibrantly adorned andas and accompanied by dancers in festive costumes.

With the fiesta season in Mandaue getting everybody in a celebratory mode, the Panagtagbo festival is a welcome addition to the myriad of events which would serve as thanksgiving to the city’s patron, St. Joseph.

The number of islands that compose the Philippine archipelago somewhat reflects the number of cultural and religious festivals all over the country.

But most of the festivals lack a truly relevant meaning behind them. Probably majority of these were just hastily crafted by local leaders just for the sake of having something to do without any solid cultural or religious basis. Thus, these festivals end up as mere street dancing with vague identities and looking like a copycat of others. But Panagtagbo, although just in its second year, has a promise of being a distinct event that would reflect Mandaue’s religious as well as cultural background. Moreover, its relevance also lies in the depiction of the Holy Family as the paragon of good values and strong family ties.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 09, 2014.


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