The Sabuaga festival

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By Dennis Limlingan

The Advocate

Thursday, April 24, 2014

MY FONDNESS for kapampangan traditions has led me last Easter Sunday to Sto. Tomas town for the Sabuaga Festival.

The Sabuaga festival was first launched in 2009 as the town’s tribute to the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday and in honor of His mother the Blessed Virgin Mary who never left Him on His way to the cross.

The scattering of flowers likewise symbolizes the triumph of the Blessed Virgin in the resurrection of Her Son after His crucifixion.


Literally, “Sabuaga” means “to scatter flowers”. Thus, during the festival, colorful and vibrant flowers and petals are scattered along makeshift alters of residences alongside the road.

Street dancing and parade complement the scattering of flower and petals on the streets which mark Sto. Tomas residents their religiosity and their love for their town and to the tradition that is now well-carved in the tourism map of Pampanga.

The Sabuaga, is co-spearheaded by the municipal government headed by its Local Chief Executive, the ever dynamic Mayor Lito Naguit and the parish church. It is widely supported by Tomasians including those businesses and industries which flourish in the said town.

In fact, the Sabuaga is not a mere religious or tourism event but also a showcase of the town’s many industries such as clay potteries, casket-making, poultry, fishery, vehicle assembly and others.

The town, although small in terms of its land area and number of barangays, is well known for its said industries. In fact, its industries cater not only the needs of Pampanga but also the product demands of other provinces in other regions including Metro Manila.

Just recently, it’s good to hear that the Sabuaga Festival has been institutionalized by the Sangguniang Bayan of the said town. This institutionalization confers the festival the status of permanency, regardless who will be the next leaders of the town or the next parish priests.

Its institutionalization marks the setting aside of politics as the festival will stay on until the coming generations ahead.

For Mayor Naguit, it’s a dream come true for him in leading his people to come up with a religious festival that highlights the end of the Holy Week and the celebration of Easter. The good thing is the fact that it was institutionalized as a festival of the town.

It will also be a lasting legacy for him to have instilled among his people the celebration of the festival that gives another identity to his town and also putting it in the tourism map of Central Luzon.

One thing that I like about the Sabuaga is the blasting of an effigy of Judas Iscariot who was said to have betrayed Jesus Christ.

The burning of “Hudas” is an aged tradition itself that signifies the condemnation of his betrayal of the Jesus. It’s a fireworks spectacle that is awaited especially by children who are amused by the looks of the effigy.

For the success of the recent festival, this lowly scribe extends his congratulations to all Tomasians and to the organizers of the Sabuaga. We hope to be delighted once again next year.


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Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on April 25, 2014.


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