Monday, December 24, 2007
Naga launches festival of shepherds’ tales
By Jujemay G. Awit
Sun.Star Staff Reporter
THE year 2007 is a milestone year for Naga.
Even as it became a city, it also honored its traditions by officially launching its own festival, the Pastores de Naga.
Pastores de Naga depicts the shepherds’ retelling of Joseph and Mary’s journey to find a birthing place for the Savior, according to the Christian tradition.
The story is told through songs and dances. In between songs, the presenters tell the story in a poetic manner.
Six groups from the different national high schools in the city—Naga, Tuyan, Uling, Langtad, Balirong and Pangdan—presented their version of the pastores in colorful costumes.
City of Naga Mayor Valdemar Chiong was the picture of a proud local executive when they launched the festival yesterday.
“I hope this will continue as a tradition of Naga City and the entire Cebu. It’s so nice to be able to arouse awareness among people,” Chiong said.
The pastores was how the Requinto clan caroled every Christmas, a practice handed from one generation to another. The practice is believed to date back all the way to 1600 and has gathered its own lore. Chiong heard that whoever didn’t honor the tradition in the clan got sick.
But with Naga adopting the Requinto tradition as its own festival, Chiong hopes the pastores will outlive political administrations. In five to 10 years, Chiong wants the festival to attract an international crowd.
“To see it more ambitiously, we will go global. Maybe (we will join) the Pastores de Mexico or Pastores de Spain,” said Chiong.
The pastores was originally noticed during the Suroy-suroy sa Sugbo, which showcases Cebu’s tourist spots and local festivals.
Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia encouraged Chiong to develop the festival.
While this is only the first year, the Pastores de Naga will be joining the “festival of festivals” in August, an activity the Province hosts as part of its anniversary celebrations.
The pastores was the highlight, but it was not the only activity during Naga’s festival.
It was officially opened last Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Concepcion of the Virgin Mary, with a festival of lights procession.
Naga City Hall and all the trees and Belen displays at the St. Francis Ocean Park were all lit up.
A lantern competition was also held, as well as a daygon tour of the Requinto clan. The festival ended last night with a parade, the presentation of the pastores, fireworks display and dancing.