Sunday, February 2, 2014

Why Bohol Fiestas Are Fun

Last January 16, my brother Roger  and his wife Faye Tabuno Gatal invited me to go with them to Cortes for the town’s fiesta celebration in honor of the holy child Jesus, - , the Sto. Niño.

Faye is the Comelec’s Election Assistant II of the town


I would have declined because I had gone to the Lim’s residence during vesper day upon the invitation of my good friend Leizl Lim Gregorio and her brother Hon. Iven Lim who happens to be the dynamic and very popular Vice Mayor of Cortes 
with Leizl Lim during her birthday
Cortes Vice Mayor Iven Lim with wife Bebeth & family 
But visions of flowing drinks, delicious home- prepared food, fanfare and meeting new and old faces swirling in my mind made me say yes LOL and of course, because everyone knows that we Boholanos look forward to our  fiesta celebrations  

So why are Bohol fiestas so much fun and anticipated?

1. THE PICTURESQUE SETTING & IDYLLIC CHARM OF BOHOL’S COUNTRYSIDE


On our way to Cortes, Bohol
Cortes is a fifth class municipality in the province of BoholPhilippines. It is about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northeast of the City of Tagbilaran

Its nearest neighbor along the national highway to the north is the town of Maribojoc. It was named after a town in Navarre, northern Spain.

a bright pink municipio greets fiesta visitors  
Located high up on a plateau, the town occupies a total land area of 4,377 hectares (10,820 acres) with a population of 15,294 people according to the 2010 census.

2.  THE STRONG SPIRITUALITY OF BOHOLANOS 

We took time to visit the charismatic Fr. Canizares at the church grounds so we could ask for updates on Cortes Church that was one of the hardest hit by the Bohol quake last October 15, 2013.


The Church of Cortes is dedicated to the Sto. Niño and thus known as the Sto. Niño Parish Church. It is situated high up on a hill and like all Bohol churches is shaped like a cruciform. 

The church dates back to the middle of the 18th century although the bell tower’s upper register was not completed until the 20th century.

 The church is made up of cut coral stone blocks. A portico is in front of an older façade and floral carving frames the doorway. It has frescoes on its ceilings.

The main retablo has twisted Solomonic columns and profusely carved flanges in the Baroque idiom. The Cortes Church is a must-see especially for the religious pilgrims.

This is the sight that greeted us when we went to the church

with my sister-in-law Faye Tabuno- Gatal
At the middle of the sprawling church grounds, a  temporary altar made of wood and bamboo was spruced up for the Roman Catholic faithful



The second of our three stops was at the house of my sister-in-law’s officemate Joseph Magdalunes at the Poblacion. 

The food was awesome and we met new friends




 Finally, we went to Venus Ramirez’ house at Brgy. Loreto. 

While feasting on the native fried chicken and the humba, the Ramirez family recounted their harrowing earthquake experience


with Venus Ramirez

It was finally time to say goodbye and give our thanks to our fiesta hosts

As we traversed back to Tagbilaran, I realized that our fiesta celebrations in Bohol are very unique and special occasions where we pause and reflect on what life has given us.

Earthquakes or no earthquakes, our rich cultural heritage and social traditions should be kept alive and kicking

Photo Credits: Roger Gatal

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