Sunday, June 1, 2014

The PARAU FESTIVAL

PARAU FESTIVAL 2013  (Pilar, Sorsogon)   
       
Parau Dancing Ground Exhibition
      A 20-day celebration of the Parau Festival has once again enliven the Poblacion area, the center of the festivities, in the municipality of Pilar. The festival co-inside with the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar, Pilar I Patron Saint, on October 12, 2013





Parau Street Dancing 
      For 2013, the festival showcased the following events:  Gipaw sa Pag-omaw, Festival Parade, Inter-High School Sportsfest, Gabi ng Parau, Parau Trade Fair, Launching of Eco-tourism, Teachers’ Day, Sibidan Race, Birisangan Challenge, Palarong Pinoy, Sibidan Race, Senio Citizens’ Day, Bible Quiz, Parau Bingo, Beer Plaza, Street Dancing Competition, Mutya ng Parau, Civic and Military Parade, DLC Competition, Grand Procession of Our Lady of the Pilar, Parau Disco and Grand Ballroom.


Parau Float
      Ambulant traders selling various items such as native products, housewares, ready to wear garments, etc., occupied the designated areas around the poblaction area.  Fiesta rides  like  octopus, space shuttle, caterpillar and other rides, located at the municipal port area, provided entertainment to adult and children from the different barangays.  On the same area, there were also shows like  Ang babaeng kakambal ahas, Ang babaeng may katawang sirena and others.

Parau Float
       The Parau festival, which was started on 2002, was conceived to showcase the municipality ’s rich cultural heritage, the aspiration of its people and to provide opportunity to promote its socio-economic potential in general.  It was realized through the collaborative effort of the Local Governmet Unit, the Pilar Heritage and Tourism Council with inter-faith membership, the schools (both private and public primary and secondary schools) and the Association of Barangay Captains. 

The festival became the municipality’s major socio-cultural event that synchronizes the energy of all sectors in the municipality. On the previous years, the festival runs for 12 days, from October 1 -12.  For this year, however, it was extended to 20 days to include the 8-day Inter High School sportsfest, which was traditionally done prior to the festival.
Search for Miss Parau is one of the popular events of the Parau Festival

     The term,”Parau”was derived from the name of the local sailboat, a means of water transportation since Spanish regime to the present generation.  It was used as a symbol of the rich marine resources which became an anchor of socio-cultural and economic development of the municipality.  Furthermore, it is connected to the once dynamic ship-building activities at the Shipyard established during the lucrative Manila-Acapulco galleon  trade era in 1600.


The Winners of the "Mutya ng Parau"


The Story Behind Parau Festival

. . . a showcase of culture and heritage of Pilar

The Establishment of Panlatuan Shipyard
  • The Lucrative Manila Acapulco Galleon trade in the 1600’s has resulted to the establishment of one of the biggest and important shipyard in Bagatao Island, now Magallanes.  But being an island, the Bagatao shipyard suffered from raids and was destroyed by Moro pirates. The Spanish authorities and shipyard owners were forced to look for a safer site for their ship-building activities.  Hence, it was transferred to the Panlatuan Bay.
  • Panlatuan Bay of Pilar, Sorsogon had been a shipyard after the galleon trade ended in 1650.
The Revolution  
  • Thee revolution in Sorsogon was ignited as a consequence of the abuse and exploitation of the of the Panlatuan Shipyard workers by the Spanish Masters. The revolutionaries had burned the town of Pilar, visita of Macalaya and the town of Magallanes. The shipyard administrator, Don Ramon Gonzales, was also killed on August 15, 1898, during the revolution.

  • Spanish authorities retaliated by massacring more or less 800 inhabitants including innocent children who were coming out from the church after attending the mass.
. . .  the Street Dancing and Parau Float Competition 

 The patience, perseverance and ingenuity of Pilareño ancestors being ship-builders were shown in the Parau Float Competition and how they victoriously overcome all the  sufferings and pain from the cruelty of the Spaniards was exhibited through Street Dancing.

How Parau Festival came into being?

          On 2002, the Pilar Parish Pastoral Council (PPC), chaired by Rev. Fr. Josefino Chavenia and the Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary, headed by Engr. Orlando Roces, jointly sponsored the patronal fiesta celebration, held every October 11-12, in honor of Our Lady of the Pillar, its patroness.  During their planning session, they thought of activities that would significantly differ from past festivities, yet, one that would  create an identity and significant impact to the community.

            They agreed to hold a Street Dancing, which eventually became a part of the festival.  Suggestions were solicited as to what would be the name of the event, especially when it becomes a festival. Mrs. Lourdes Cas, the PPC Vice-Chair, relayed that  “parau” was the commonly suggested name of the civic-spirited citizens of Pilar during their informal dialogue.  She further explained that historical data pointed out that Pilar is considered as a safe haven and ideal place for ship making.  And, the present generation are still making boats, both with and without motor.

             “Parau”, was then adopted as the name of the event and Miss Noemi Lumbao, the Chair of the Commission of Worship, was tasked to lead the big event.  She organized sub-committees to facilitate the activity. Those with special talent and skill in music were tapped to create the special music for the street dancing. They were:

            Dawel Celerio              -  keyboard and bass
            Alex Bañano                 -  guitar
            Jojo Salvatiera               -  maracas
            Renante Lumbao           -  keyboard and guitar
            Cyril Mabini                  -  drums
            Francis Xavier Molleda  -  conductor
            Arnol Lista                    -  technical support/recording
            Fr. Jasper Valdez          -  tomtoms

Hence the said group had created the original Parau music and likewise formulated the mechanics for street dancing.  They invited the school heads for both elementary and secondary levels and eight (8) out of twelve (12) of them signified to join.

The first Parau Street Dancing competition around the poblacion area was then launched and gathered a large crowd, who were amazed by the beautiful, fantastic and wonderful performance of the eight contingents. Even the  judges could hardly decide the winners. They were all champion in their own rights. After thorough deliberation among the judges, the Dominican School of Pilar was proclaimed as the 1st Champion. As a winner, the said contingent represented Pilar in the Kasanggayahan Festival Street Dancing presentation at Sorsogon City last October 18, 2002.

 Source:  Parau Souvenir Magazine 2005 with theme “. . . Sail Afar, Flourish Pilar!”