If there’s one reason to visit Pampanga, it’s to attend one of their festivals. The practice of manufacturing Majiganggas in the town of Santa Ana, Pampanga, is one of the re-emerging festivals to look out for. The festival has proven to be one of the most memorable events in Santa Ana, being more colorful and vibrant than ever before.
The Majiganggas, or enormous puppets, are claimed to be inspired by John the Baptist, who cleared the way for the arrival of the Savior. The Majiganggas follow the light processions in Santa Ana and are also present for the three major festivities such as Christmas, New Year’s, and the feast of the Three Kings.
The puppets, which stand 10 feet tall, are made by both children and adults out of bamboo, springs, steel rods, and colorful paper mache and cloth. These puppets’ faces feature comically large eyebrows and mustaches made of dried durian bark, the body is constructed of discarded tarpaulins, and the hair is made of recycled sacks — a creative and unique approach! During the event, the people also work together to control the huge puppets that dance around the streets of Santa Ana.
The custom of making Majiganggas goes all the way back to before World War II and was pioneered by Jacinto Quiambao. It was supposedly suspended during the Japanese occupation, but was restored by Quiambao’s family members in the 1970s, and was ultimately brought back by the barangay and municipal administration in 2010 and is still going on today. The local administration intends to make it a popular celebration that future generations will enjoy.