By Emil G. Gamos
PULILAN, Bulacan, May 14 (PNA) — Multitudes of domestic and foreign tourists began to flock to this town early Thursday morning to witness and be a part of the “Kneeling Carabaos” festival of Pulilan.
Local officials and special guests joined in this rare but colorful event where carabaos were paraded in colorful decorations and costumes. Some even looked like the animal version of the “Incredible Hulk” and other famous super heroes.
The carabaos were thoroughly cleaned and prepared for the parade.
For the march, the carabaos were trained by their owners to kneel in front of the church as they pass it one by one. A priest is there to bless each one of the creatures as the farmers pay homage to their patron saint. On the 15th, Friday, a carabao race will be held as part of the festivity.
Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado said that this centuries-age tradition, held in celebration of the town’s patron saint — San Isidro Labrador — never fails to amuse local and foreign visitors as farmers lead hundreds of their work animals in front of the parish church where the carabaos kneel in front as a symbolic homage.
“Our great province is blessed with colorful crowd-drawing festivals, some of which have become a part of Philippine cultural heritage.
Aside from the Kneeling Carabaos, other attractions are the Obando Fiesta and the equally attractive fluvial festival in Bocaue town.
“The people themselves have helped preserve these spectacular festivals,” Alvarado said.
The governor said that this is how the people of Pulilan and other parts of Bulacan where big crowd-drawing fiestas are being celebrated, pay their respect to their patron saints for blessing them with good harvest and family love.
Every year, local and foreign tourists arrive in throngs early in the morning as they await the “stars of the day” — the “kneeling carabaos” while savoring native delicacies being sold in stalls and booths. Also included in the parade are cows, horses, street folk dancers, marching bands and floats of commercial establishments of the town.
Alvarado said that the Provincial Tourism Office is constantly coordinating with the local government to make sure that the festival will always be celebrated with grandeur and distinct style without forgetting the “holiness of the event”.
The governor also said that first aid teams together with ambulances as well as police and other peacekeeping forces were deployed in strategic areas to ensure a safe celebration of the feast day of San Isidro de Labrador. (PNA)