As you enter the city of Dapitan, colorful and huge displays welcome you while the streets are full of buntings leading you to the center of the city. The festive atmosphere is pulsing even when dark skies loom.
For the first time, a fluvial parade from Dipolog City to Dapitan will be held and prayers for a cloudless sky and calm waters are being sent to the heavens.
The fluvial procession signifies how Señor Santiago journeyed to many places to spread the word, martyred in Jerusalem, and his dead body was placed in a boat and was brought back to Compostela (Camino de Santiago or pilgrimage Tour of Saint James).
At 5am, a fiery sun shined over the flotilla of boats headed to Dipolog’s breakwater to fetch Señor Santiago. Even the sea calmed down to allow the safe passage of the small parade.
In Dipolog, devotees happily sent off Señor Santiago and Santo Rosario to Dapitan to the beat of drums. Shouts of Viva Señor Santiago can be heard every now and then as the 15 vessels made its way to Punto de Disembarco Rizal in Dapitan.
For a non-devotee, I had goosebumps seeing how the devotees’ prayers were answered for sunny weather and calm waters. I shed tears at how Dapitanons welcomed him with shouts, waving of the San Francisco branches and flaglets and smiles, as they joyously paraded him to the church.
At 12 noon, it was a frenzy of bodies all swaying together, chanting, and just being one in the Sinug and Loa, the storytelling of Señor Santiago’s life and works.
The day after, the street dancing contingents from the different clusters of Dapitan reiterated the story.
At the head of the parade were horsemen similar to that of Señor Santiago’s entry to the places that he went to.
Each group had a fiesta queen holding a statue of the beloved saint up high while the dancers reenacted the Spanish-Moorish war.
I have chosen to highlight these events among all the month-long activities because it showed me how Dapitanons smoothly merge tradition and faith while not failing to have some fun.
Viva Señor Santiago! Malipayong Kinabayo Festival, Dapitan!
Daghang salamat, Dapitan City Local Government, City Tourism Officer Apple Marie Agolong, Marilou Balanay, Erna dela Torre, Kit Adasa. Ms Lana Jalosjos- de Leon Villa Aneglina Luxury Suites Dakak Park and Beach Resort
How to get there:
Major airlines (PAL and CebPac) fly daily to Dipolog City from Manila and from Cebu (CebPac).
Dapitan is just 30 minutes away from the Dipolog airport. Ride a tricycle from the airport to Dipolog bus terminal and then take the bus to Dapitan.
Tricycles ply the streets of Dapitan to get you from one point to another.