Monday, May 14, 2018

Experiencing Valenzuela City: First Time in San Roque Fiesta 2018

"Doon po sa amin, Bayan ng San Roque
may nagkatuwaang apat na pulubi.
Nagsayaw ang pilay, nakinig ang bingi.
Nanood ang bulag, kumanta ang pipi."

This song,"Awit ng Apat na Pulubi", reminds One Valenzuela of the great experience that she had when she first attended the San Roque Fiesta in Mabolo, Valenzuela City last May 12, 2018. Admittedly, she never had the chance to come over to this well-celebrated feast before because of work and studies. Thus, this makes her visit this year a special one.
Welcome to Barangay Mabolo! Welcome to the San Roque Fiesta in Valenzuela City!

Her long afternoon walks would sometimes lead her in front of the San Roque chapel which on an ordinary day would silently make its towering presence as One Valenzuela pass by Mabolo, on her way to Coloong or Polo (see 2014 post for markers: Beautiful Churches in Valenzuela City: San Roque Chapel). But this time around, the tranquil neighborhood transformed into a lively community full of devotees and visitors coming from within and outside Valenzuela City! She also spotted several foreign tourists along the streets who are taking photos and buying sweet delicacies. 

She was invited to become one of the judges in the  Sayaw-Pasasalamat Street Dance Contest. All the judges were first timers in the fiesta and so they were given a brief tour around the locale by the Valenzuela City Historian and Curator, Jonathan Balsamo. There they learned that Valenzuela City has been observing the feast of San Roque every May 12 since 1763, making 2018 the 256th year of celebration.

If you are looking into being part of the festivities next year, the announcement of activities is commonly posted online (Metro News Central's Post of the Schedule can be found here.) and on the community boards. Yet typically, the height of events (street dance) happens in the morning of May 12, ending at around noon.  Want to know what to do in the feast? Come along and read on.

Eat at Jimmy's Lugawan
First stop, a quick Filipino breakfast of porridge and fried tofu. Jimmy's Lugawan is very near the San Roque Chapel and is a go-to place by many who want to have a fill before the action starts along the streets. 
Quick stop at Jimmy's Lugawan

There are also other places to eat in Barangay Mabolo. A good blogger friend who resides here says that she will show One Valenzuela these spots soon. Hopefully, veeery soon!

Attend the Mass at San Roque Chapel
In Valenzuela City, San Roque is well known as the Patron Saint of the sick and invalid as well as the Patron Saint of the unmarried. One Valenzuela was not able to attend the mass because they arrived at Mabolo an hour after the mass. She still went inside the church to say a simple prayer before lighting white and red candles. The white candle, they say, is for good health while the red one is for family-related prayers. 
San Roque Chapel

Various types of candles which can be found in a stand located near the entrance of the San Roque Chapel

Watch the Sayawan sa Calle (Street Dance) Parade and Contest
The street comes alive and full of people during the Sayawan sa Calle. Just line up along the road together with other spectators and wait for the parade to come. Better bring your camera to capture the excitement!

One Valenzuela also enjoyed watching every entry in the Sayaw-Pasasalamat contest. She just had to tap her pencil to the beat as the dancers do their moves! The group named Green Ox Allstars, hailing from Barangay Maysan, won first place in this year's contest. One Valenzuela later learned that this group also topped last year's competition. Again, congratulations for your back-to-back winning streak!
Green Ox Allstars bagged the top spot in this year's Sayaw-Pasasalamat. #backtobackwin

Check out the Items for Sale on the Street
There are a lot of merchandise which one can purchase on both sides of the street. There were small statues, native hats, clothes...too many to mention! One Valenzuela spotted a lady who is selling cooking sets made of clay. She bought a set for Little One Valenzuela.  
Colorful clothes for children on display in this particular stall

Nostalgia kicks in. One Valenzuela had a set of clay pots when she was younger. She and her childhood friends would cook real rice and other stuff using this. The big set goes for Php60.00.









Meet People, Buy Delicacies, and... Eat Again!
One Valenzuela and her fellow judges were warmly welcomed at a good home in nearby Coloong. There they had a good discussion over lunch about the San Roque Fiesta. She was filled with good food, stories, and memories! 
Salamat po!

Stall after stall of sweet and savory delicacies. One Valenzuela got a plastic full of kakanin  as pasalubong for loved ones.

Feast your eyes and tastebuds on this. Love the latik over these slices of kakanin!

For the sweet tooth, get a cup of bukayo. Bukayo is made out of coconut strips and brown sugar.

Hay, One Valenzuela's heart was full the brim. It was indeed a great experience. She imagines herself coming again in next year's festivities, joining the crowd, and shouting to the top of her lungs, "Mano po, San Roque!".

One Valenzuela would like to thank the Cultural Affairs and Tourism Development Office for making this possible.    


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