Monday, May 17, 2010


Today, May 17, marks the start of the annual fertility festival in the town of Obando, in the province of Bulacan in honor of its three patron saints: San Pascual Baylon, Santa Clara de Asís and Nuestra Señora de Salambao.

While this ritual dancing is well-documented (José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere talks about how María Clara was conceived after her mother Pía Alba danced in Obando), there are more fertility rituals all over the Philippines that our textbooks and national consciousness fail to notice.

(Part 1 of 6. Finish watching the entire video in Youtube)

In 2006, the late Ramon Obusan, Philippine National Artist for Dance, did a documentary with GMA 7's Howie Severino on the phallic rituals in Kalayaan, Laguna. Called Lukayo, the dance involved women dressed up in gaudy costumes, dancing with artificial penises on the wedding day of a lass in town and singing songs with a lot of sexual innuendos outside the church.

A related ritual, called Baliw-Baliw, used to be performed in Cebu. It involves cross-dressing, throwing animal manure in the chapel and putting on more improvised penises in honor of San Vicente Ferrer. Both rituals are steadily being erased by Church authorities, who look down upon such traditions for their "inappropriateness".

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