Are you planning on taking a trip to Batangas? You might want to choose the fourth week of July as the best time to do it as a huge festival awaits you to join their celebration and have fun! Come and explore the wonders of the Sublian Festival with us!
WHAT is the Sublian Festival ABOUT?
The Sublian Festival is a religious celebration that commemorates the patron in Batangas City, Sto. Niño. On July 23 1988, It was initiated by Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha as the foundation day of the city, and up until today, it is still being celebrated in the area, now in it’s 33th year. The term sublian came from two Tagalog words which are subsub, that means crouching or falling on one’s head, and bali, which means broken or bent.
The festival was initiated in order to renew and preserve their traditional subli dance. Subli is a ceremonial religious dance from the Catholic faith that is performed in honor of the revelation of the Holy Cross found in Alitagtag, Batangas dating back to the time of Spanish rule in the country. Today, it is commemorated as the patron saint of the town of Bauan. This dance is known to be indigenous to the whole province of Batangas.
Subli is composed of prayers, songs, and dances that is usually done with instrumental accompaniment such as drums and is performed in a specified distribution. Two to eight couples usually perform the dance and integrate expressive movement. The men use a wooden stick to leap and beat the ground while the female dancers dressed in hats and scarves dance by showing refined wrist and finger movement.
WHEN and WHERE is the Sublian Festival CELEBRATED?
The Sublian Festival is celebrated in the province of Batangas. It is held in Batangas City every 23rd of July while it occurs in May in the areas of Bauan and Agoncillo.
Offering of flowers to the patrons usually commences the celebration, which is followed by Sublian sa Kalye, a parade of Batangueños wearing native clothing with subli hats as embodiment of the festival’s objective and Batangueños’ tradition. The parade usually lasts at least an hour, that is one hour of splendid subli dances and flashy festival costumes for you!
WHAT ACTIVITIES are being held in the Sublian Festival?
A program supersedes the parade in the area’s city hall which consists of different activities for the festival scheduled within the day. The subli dance is not the only custom showcased in this celebration. There are other activities such as Lupakan and Awitan that display their culture in food and singing.
Lupakan is a popular pastime where people bond and hang out while making a local delicacy called nilupak which they can share with each other as well. Friends and partners may get together in the house of the Lupakan host, who is usually the one who sponsors the delicacy’s ingredients, then a male and female pair partner together to help each other mix and pound the nilupak. At the Sublian Festival, the Lupakan is usually held at the patio of Basilica de Immaculada Concepcion.
In Awitan, men perform harana, or a serenade that symbolizes courtship, to woo single women at night by the window. It is customary that the Awitan in Sublian is performed at the house of the maiden who was crowned in the pageant Ms. Batangas Foundation Day that year. The Sublian Festival will then be wrapped up by a thanksgiving mass which is followed by the singing of the National Anthem.
The Sublian Festival is really a celebration you must not miss! This festive event brings color and joy to the streets of the city while commemorating the cultural and religious customs of Batangueños .