Fluvial Procession at Taal
The fluvial procession of Taal Batangas is held annually from December 8 and 9. The two-day festivity of the town fiesta, are planned and preparations are made, way long the actual event date.
A hermanos mayores (committee heads) prepares for the annual fiesta program. Every year a new hermanos mayores, who are usually well known and respected Taal native, and a member of the rector typically leads the celebration.
It all starts with nine-day novena masses, which customarily ends on December 7. The celebration day is December 8 feast of Immaculate Conception. A mass is normally held at Our Lady of Caysasay Church in barrio Labac.
After the mass at Our Lady of Caysasay Church, baptismal and confirmation follows which has been a tradition in most of the towns of Batangas. This normally runs until noontime.
The parade starts after a mass in the afternoon usually at 4 o’clock. The Image of Our Lady of Caysasay is paraded first around the barrios of Labac, Tatlong Maria and then in Seiran. Along the parade a luwa (declamation in honor of the Virgin Mary) is normally held in each of the barrios.
The fluvial parade starts when the Image of the Virgin Mary is brought to Pansipit River. Town folks converge at the riverbank, where several bancas (boats) are anchored. The Image of Our Lady of Caysasay is carried by devotees in a fluvial procession at the watercourse. And the fluvial procession ends at a place called Nagpuloc.
At Nagpuloc, a stair beside the river, the Image of the Virgin Mary is carried and transferred to a waiting karosa (carriage or float). Then, the parade will continue moving towards the main road of Taal with the banda (marching band), while devotees pray during the course of the parade.
Generally, the parade will stop every time a luwa (declamation in honor of the Virgin Mary) is recited. The place will depend on the choice of the declaimer. So, the parade takes a long time before it reaches its final destination the Basilica of Taal.
There are also times that a luwa is also recited inside the Basilica.
During the event, you will see lines of people waiting patiently along the river and around the roads as far as Lemery, to the main road leading to the Basilica.
Teenage girls in long gowns and boys dressed in barongs (Filipino formal wear) forming the hila (pull), which gives light to the long procession.
Firecrackers are lighted as the Image of the Virgin Mary passes by. And a colorful fireworks display can be seen as it reaches the end of the parade.
In the Basilica, the hermanos mayores carries the Image of the Virgin Mary into the altar. Then the devotees will hold a Rosary vigil and sing hymns until the Mass the next day.
The municipal patio is filled with folks watching programs and presentations prepared by the fiesta committee. Dancing and singing until the wee hours of the morning.
On December 9 the town fiesta continues until dinnertime, wherein every body is invited to share the food with their respective guest.
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