Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pulilan Carabao Festival 2007

the last time i was nose to snout with a carabao, i was 11 years old. it was summer then and i was staying with my father's sister's family in a small barrio in bansud, oriental mindoro. in the morning, i'd either be swimming in the river or helping out with chores. in the afternoon, if there were no more chores, i'd be with the other boys in the barrio. we'd all laze around under the shade of a large mango tree, which grew beside a supposedly haunted house, in the middle of a vast grassy field, which, i believed, rolled all the way to the edge of the distant sea. then, when the sun was low enough to touch the rooftops of the houses back at the barrio, we'd all untether the carabaos we were sent there to fetch, and, sitting atop the huge beasts with nothing more than sackcloths for saddles, we'd race each other, toward the setting sun, toward home sweet home.

i decided to attend this year's carabao festival in pulilan, bulacan primarily because i didn't have photos of the festival in my image library. i was spurred on by the fact that maggie, my new friend and mentor from daiichicolour, expressed interest in the subject when it was brought up one time i was at her office. but exploring it further, i believe i went to the festival because i have now a renewed connection with bulacan. the province and i have a history. my family lived for a long time in sta. maria; i and my siblings have fond memories of growing up there. my good friend paolo has roots in san miguel. and now, i have ties with someone from pulilan itself.

sometime around 4 p.m., after waiting nearly two hours in the hot summer sun, shooting the overdrawn "opening act" of the pulilan carabao parade through layers of excited pulilan townsfolk, the "main event" finally came lumbering down the town's main road. more than 300 carabaos of all shapes, colors, sizes, and costumes, with their masters riding on their backs or walking beside them, bore down on the crowd gathered in front of the pulilan church. as they passed the effigy of san isidro labrador in front of the church's entrance, they went through the motions of the performance everyone from all over came to see: enormous horned beasts getting down on their front legs by the hundreds to give thanks to the patron saint of farmers for a year of bountiful harvest. the spectacle was over in a matter of minutes. the last of the carabaos were soon lost from my sight behind an impenetrable wall of people. in the place where the carabaos knelt, there i was, on my knees as well, checking my photographs and feeling overwhelmed. as i got up, i gave san isidro a quick glance. i, too, thanked him for a bountiful harvest.


Jez said...

Thank you for the nice shots.
We will be using some for our Carabao fest exhibit. Don't worry. We'll credit you :)
Your name and site will also be posted for recognition and copyright.

Jeryc Garcia said...

Hi, Jez,

Just let me know which photos you will be using. Where will this exhibit be held?




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