Cebuanos will witness the grandest Christmas festival as Naga city stages next month the first Pastores de Naga Christmas Festival that features the unique Pastores poetic morality play and dance handed down to since the Spanish times.
“The Los Pastores portrays the story of the shepherds’ search for the baby Jesus that Spanish missionaries in the 16th century used to teach Catholicism in new Spanish colonies,” said Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong.
“We will present the original dance steps preserved by generations of the Requinto clan of Tagjadimit, Naga’s farthest mountain barangay along with other groups that will be introducing innovations,” said Mayor Chiong.
Because there were not enough missionaries and priests, families of lay people soon took over and carried on the traditions often by word of mouth. One of the original families was the Requinto clan who passed on the “Pastores” tradition from one generation to another until today.
However, the passing of centuries saw the “Pastores tradition” fading into the background as Naga boomed into an industrial city. But it inspired the Pastores festivals in Luzon.
The public and members of media will have a glimpse of the original Pastores presentation during the press launch at SM City Cebu on November 28, 2007. The Belen display and photo exhibit at the mall’s 3rd level will last until December 2, 2007.
The famous national artist Ramon Obusan, who organized the annual Christmas play at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), reportedly traced the origin of the Pastores tradition in Luzon to Naga, Cebu.
Gov. Gwen Garcia and Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong decided on focusing Naga City’s heritage efforts on the Pastores after seeing the Requinto dancers perform during the Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo earlier this year.
With the theme — Pride in Our Roots; Realizing Our Vision — Mayor Chiong said the Pastores tradition is something Naganhons are proud of while the holding of grand annual festivals to place Naga City in the tourism map is a priority under his program Vision and Leadership 2020 or VAL 2020.
The Christmas celebration will start with the Festival of Lights procession on December 8, 2007, which falls on the feast of the Immaculate Virgin Mary.
“We will light up the streets. There will be Belen displays and the “Indigay sa Parol along with shows and concerts at the St. Francis of Assisi Ocean Park,” said Mayor Chiong.
On December 17, 2007, the Pastores of the Requinto clan will conduct a Daygon tour starting with the Provincial Capitol where they will perform before Gov. Gwen Garcia, other Capitol officials, and provincial employees.
The festival will culminate with the parade and public performances of the of the different Pastores groups in Naga on December 23, 2007 to give way to the more solemn Church-centered celebration and the family Noche Buena on December 24, 2007.
Two other Pastores groups with more modern dance steps exist in the lowland. These groups along with the Requinto clan and other participants will be the highlight of the festival.
Aside from press announcements, the public and Naganhons abroad will be able to access festival updates from our blog at http://www.pastoresdenaga.wordpress.com or check out our Pastores de Naga account at http://www.friendster.com or http://profiles.friendster.com/pastoresdenaga
“The Pastores de Naga Christmas festival will be the event Cebuanos should not miss as we prepare for the birthday of our Lord Jesus,” he said.