Morality play to highlight Naga Christmas activities

Monday, December 03, 2007
Sun.Star Daily Cebu

THE City of Naga will stage the revival of an old tradition that depicts a poetic morality play and dance as part of its activities for the Christmas season.

Dubbed the “Pastores de Naga,” the play will be the highlight of various activities.

Last week, city officials led by Mayor Valdemar Chiong formally launched the Pastores de Naga through a presentation at the SM City Cebu.

Clad in colorful costumes, children performed the Pastores, which involves dance, play and dialogue of an original handwritten script, catching the attention of mall shoppers.


Most of the performers were members of the Requinto clan, the original performers of the Pastores whose practice has been passed on from one generation to another until today.

The Requintos are residents of Tagjadimit, Naga’s farthest hilly village, about 11 kilometers away from the city proper.

“This is how we stage the Pastores. These are its original dance steps,” Chiong said while the young children performed the Pastores in front of a crowd.

The mayor said the “Los Pastores” portrays the story of the shepherds’ search for the baby Jesus that Spanish missionaries used to teach Catholicism in the 16th century.

He lauded the Requinto clan for continuing the tradition even when it already lost its appeal for the majority of the Naganhons.

When it faded into the background in Naga, the practice, however, inspired the Bicolanos in Luzon turned this Christmas custom into festivals.


Chiong, Naga’s first city mayor, said they got inspired to revive the Pastores after the Requinto dancers performed during the Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo, which showcases Cebu’s tourist spots and local festivals.

In turn, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia encouraged Chiong to transform the Pastores tradition into an annual festival.

“We had less time to prepare for the Pastores, but we were inspired to start this year,” he said.

With the theme “Pride in our Roots, Realizing our Vision”, the Christmas festival in Naga will kick off with the Festival of Lights procession on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.

The activity includes the lighting up of the Naga City Hall, Christmas trees and Belen displays and a Christmas concert at the St. Francis Ocean Park.

A Naga lantern competition will also follow on Dec. 16.

The next day, the Requinto clan will conduct a “Daygon Tour” that will start at the Provincial Capitol and perform before Garcia, Capitol officials and employees.

The festival will end with the parade and public performances of at least six Pastores groups, representing Naga’s public schools, on Dec. 23.

Chiong said they decided to hold the Pastores before Christmas Eve to give way to the solemn religious celebration and the family Noche Buena on Dec. 24. (GC)


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