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    Posted July 2, 2014 by
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    Kuraldal: The Kapampangan Ritual Dance and Fluvial Parade


    I used a stop-motion technique on this series of 1000 photos taken from Go Pro.Please watch the whole one-minute video to appreciate.


    As the month of June signals the rainy season, for the Kapampangans, it is the start of the series of fluvial parades that are centuries-old traditions. Generally called "libad", the practice is basically a community-based celebration of the people that resides along a river or waterways which is a veneration of their patron saint and at the same time a tribute where the cradle of civilization emerged. It is an amalgam of pre-colonial pagan practice and Christian values modified generations by generations. The name of the province Pampanga has an etymological derivative from the word "pangpang" which means a riverbank, a canal or a dike which explains the affinity of these celebrations to water. Starting June 24 up to June 30, a series of 3 fluvial by the parades by the 3 municipalities became a grand spectacle of the townspeople and tourists as well, showcasing the splashes of faith of the people known to be culinary extravagant and grandiose in terms of food and celebrations.


    Kuraldal Ning San Juan Bautista (June 24)


    The event starts with a one hour mass in the small chapel of San Juan Bautista which highlights the life and importance of the patron saint, John the Baptist. At 9 am, people will gather in front of the chapel alongside the 3 firetrucks which will serve as water canons that will out pour the content to the people in the procession. The main subject of the Kuraldal (a ritual dance) is a bronze crucifix carried and passed on to people by people while splashes of water is thrust towards to anyone believing it is a from of baptism and blessings.


    " I have been a devotee of Kuraldal since time immemorial. It is my annual ritual and thanks giving for a bountiful life I received all year round," said Ruby Ocampo Tubil, a 50 year old resident of San Juan Bautista, Betis. Mrs. Tubil was with her granddaughters and son, all wet and frenzied even if their faces were slightly sunburned by the scorching heat of the sun.


    The Kuraldal Ning San Juan Bautista was originally being held along the Betis river. But in the last 2 decades, it was brought to the main road of the town where its river is no longer passable by water due to siltation as an effect of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. " You see, even on my busy job in Manila, I tend to go home to take part in the celebration of the Kuraldal. It's my devotion. I am a witness to the changes of location from the river to the main road of this event but the faith of the people was never impeded because even my children became part of the devotee of this Kuraldal, stated Roberto "Boy" Huang, San Miguel Brewery President and a native of San Juan Bautista, Betis.


    Libad Ning San Pedro (June 29)


    Being held as a tribute to St. Peter and Paul, the event is a fluvial parade where residents of Sasmoan, Pampanga gather along the shoreline of the Dalan-Bapor river riding on their boats. The tribute starts with a mas at the San Pedro Chapel where a more then century old icon, a wooden sculpture of St. Peter is the highlight. The wooden icon is said to be under the care of the Tolentino family who believes in the miraculous attributes of it.


    The icon will then be carried to a make-shift large floating flatform made out of series of boat attached one after the other to parade it along the river where townspeople awaits along the shore and on the bridge. It is accompanied by a brass band while people splashes water to one another which they believe is a blessing.


    Apung Iru Fluvial Parade (June 28 to June 30)


    The Apung Iru Fluvial Parade commemorates the venerated icon Apung Iru in Apalit, Pampanga which the townspeople believe is miraculous. Edgar Censon, a resident of the town said that he has been a devotee of the icon since the 1960's and became his annual ritual every June to follow along the fluvial parade which starts in June 28 and ends in June 30.


    Apung Iru is a owned by a prominent family in Apalit, Pampanga where it was kept for a long time until in the earlier part of year 2000, the mansion where it was placed got burned. It is said that all the things in the house including the house itself turned into ashes but not the Apung Iru icon.


    The parade starts on June 28 where, just like the San Pedro Fluvial Parade in Sasmuan, it will be put on what the townspeople calls pagoda and will be paraded along the Rio Grande will the people on the shore and on the several boats that accompany it throws water and food to celebrate the abundance of life. It will be then brought to the church of the town on the other side of the river which is more than a kilometer far.


    The culminating activity is when the Apung Iru will be brought to the house which is its permanenant place.

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