Having parents coming from two different cultural/linguistic groups (my Dad is from Batangas and my Mom is from Pampanga) is something I am very proud of because I got to expose myself to two different worlds and learn two different local languages. However, having born and raised in my Dad’s hometown has allowed me to have a very limited exposure on the Kapampangan culture and way of life. The Pampanga culture is known for a very rich cuisine hence the food culture here is so rich. Moreover, there are a lot of Catholic/religious traditions that are exclusive to this part of the Philippines. My family and I regularly visit Pampanga during holidays, and everytime I go there feels like a crash course on Philippine culture.
VIVA APUNG IRU! Kapampangans refer to St. Peter (the Patron Saint of the Town of Apalit) as ‘Apung Iru’, and its Feast Day every June is one of the most anticipated activities in the town. Locals organize a the Apung Iru Fluvial Festival in Pampanga River to honor Apung Iru. It is a very lively celebration and everyone’s energy is just at its peak. Part of their tradition is to play with water and pour them to just anyone who passes their way. BANDERITAS. A very common scene in the streets of the Philippines whenever a town/city is celebrating their fiesta is the presence of banderitas, which adds to the vibrant mood of the environment. EVERYONE IS OUTSIDE. During fiestas in the Philippines, everyone is just on their ‘party mood. You will find a lot of people outside and everyone’s house has a lot of food and can practically welcome anyone to eat. The vibe is just lit! THE TRANQUIL PAMPANGA RIVER BEFORE THE PARADE. A woman from my Mom’s neighborhood waiting for the fluvial parade. Other locals prefer taking a dip in the river because it was believe that you will be blessed more if you go closer to Apung Iru. ST. PETER’S ROOSTER. Those who were born Catholic (and bonus if you got educated in a Catholic school like me) will know about St. Peter’s rooster which symbolizes the three times St. Peter denied Jesus Christ. It is just right that the rooster float was the first in line, which obviously signifies that the parade is about to arrive. LOCALS SPLASHING EACH OTHER WITH WATER. These were the locals who opted to swim in Pampanga River while waiting for the parade. When the biggest float housing the statue of St. Peter passed by, this man started splashing some water to others in the river as a traditional act to celebrate the feast of St. Peter. WHAT A COLORFUL PARADE! The parade has a lot of participants and seeing this kind of crowd in a river is so heartwarming. It shows how Filipinos, specifically Kapampangans, value their Catholic faith and how they are sincere and authentic about paying respect to St. Peter. Also, it comes to show that this old tradition still practiced until today is a sign that Kampampangans also have a high regard to their cultural heritage. LEAVING PAMPANGA ON SUNSET. The day ended for us, but for the locals, the day is just getting started. There are a lot of activities at night and locals continue to enjoy the Feast Day. For us, since we are only there for the weekend and have to go back to Manila to work, we have to get out of Apalit as soon as we can because of the traffic jam. I am leaving you with the sunset I captured featuring the greeneries of Pampanga, something I will always love looking at whenever I am there. SNAPSHOTS: ASIA Trailer SNAPSHOTS: ASIA PHOTO ESSAY #3: APUNG IRU FLUVIAL FESTIVAL (PIN IT! ) OTHER SNAPSHOTS: ASIA PHOTO ESSAYS