Bulan Celebrates Padaraw Festival


Padaraw Festival 2015 in Bulan, Sorsogon beckoned spectators.  (Photo by EG Hilotin)

Last May 30th, the streets of Bulan in the province of Sorsogon were filled again with music and revelry as the unassuming municipality celebrated its town fiesta in honor of the town’s patron saint – Our Lady of Immaculate Conception.

Clad in iridescent, rainbow-hued costumes, hundreds of students from elementary and high school including out-of-school youth from different barangays, performed during the street parade.

Elementary and high school students and out-of-school youth  who practiced for weeks or even months, made the festival a success. (Photo by EG Hilotin)

Padaraw Festival means unity, and it is celebrated annually as thanksgiving for the bounties of the sea as well as the copious harvest from vast agricultural lands that drape Bulan. It is rooted in the word “daraw”, a Bicol term referring to a school of fish that congregate at a certain point in the sea.  Everyday, local fishermen patiently try their luck in the unforgiving sea to trawl for daraw, hoping to take home a bountiful catch.


This year, 9 clusters, each composed of 7-8 barangays, participated in the fete, which showcased impressive choreography and dazzling outfits made from native materials such as abaca’, says Biboi Hilotin, designer of Padaraw 2015  logo. “Cluster 8 composed of Brgy.Obrero, Managa-naga, N.Roque, Taromata, San Vicente, Sta.Remedious, Zone 2 and Zone 5 bagged the first prize (with an average score of 94.67%) and best in costume award. The group was trained by Jefferson Alabin,” he continues. Meanwhile, Cluster 2 under Erwin Hachero’s guidance placed second and Cluster 3, taught by Veronica Guelas, ranked third.


A total of 9 clusters composed of 7-8 barangays each wowed the audience because of their intricate and glitzy costumes made from local materials.(Photo by EG Hilotin)

Unlike the bigger, age-old festivals in the Philippines, Padaraw Festival is relatively new, so don’t expect it to be as grandiose and polished. But I like attending smaller fetes like this, as they are not too commercialized yet; no heaps of large ads that overpower the real spirit of the celebration. At the end of the day, what matters is Padaraw was able to deliver the true essence of the celebration, which is to encourage the spectators to unite amidst struggles and trials, as well as educate them to protect and preserve nature if they want to reap more bounties in the future.


Padaraw Festival also flaunted flamboyant choreography. (photo by EG Hilotin)





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