The Sublian Festival was started by the city Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha on July 23, 1988 on the annual observation of the city hood of Batangas City. The objective is to renew the practice of the subli.
So, what is a subli?
A subli is presented during a feast, as ceremonial worship dance in honor to the Holy Cross. The image of the Holy Cross was found during the Spanish rule in the town of Alitagtag. It is the patron saint of ancient town of Bauan. The dance is indigenous to the province of Batangas.
The subli is made up of lengthy prayers, songs and dances in predetermined arrangement. The dancers are made up of one, two or eight couples. The male dancers shuffle in intense fashion and hit the ground using a bamboo stick, while the female, dance with a sophisticated wrist and finger movement.
The parade usually starts in morning on the 23rd of July after the floral offering. It is commonly participated by the city government employees, non-government organization, schools and socio-civic organization.
Participants come in native attire with adorned subli hats to symbolize Batangueño attributes and customs.
The best bit of the event is the Foundation Day and the Sublian sa Kalye (in the street), where partakers will march and dance the subli on the streets. There are around a thousand students who join and perform a street dancing subli. The parade usually takes at least an hour or more to complete.
After the Sublian Parade, programs are scheduled for the whole day at the City Hall Complex.
One interesting program during the celebration is the Lupakan (making of a snack called nilupak) at Awitan (singing) held at the People’s Quadrangle. Here you can catch a glimpse of how the native snack nilupak is made. And at the same time have a taste of the delectable snack.
Other activities such palaro (native games), sublian contest, and other planned events are some of the highlights of the festivities. The City Hall Complex is bustling with events all day.
The festival, which is a weeklong fiesta, starts at July 17. During the weeklong feast, events like Santacruzan (May flower festival), luwa (declamation to a saint), folk dance competition, and other Batangas native events are held.
So, if you are in the vicinity of Batangas City during the time of the year. Make it a point to experience the Sublian Festival.