It was the first time I attended the festivities of the Virgen de los Remedios last Friday. Malcañang had declared it a non-working holiday in Pampanga since this year is the 50th anniversary of the canonical coronation of the said image. What I saw touched me and just proved that culture is very much alive in San Fernando and the province of Pampanga!
Although not as widely-known around the country as the Peñafrancia festivities in Naga City or the La Naval de Manila of the Sto. Domingo Church, the feast of Pampanga's patroness has a large following locally. Literally thousands lined the streets of San Fernando along the procession route from the Metropolitan Cathedral to the Mass site at Villa del Sol a little over two kilometers away. Amidst the loud applause of adoring devotees, the pealing of San Fernando's Cathedral bells and the music of several brass bands, the image was brought out together with the Santo Cristo del Perdon on a charming anda borne on the shoulders of devotees.
Here is a video I took. Pardon the quality since I had my camera on the wrong settings...
Despite the scorching heat of the early afternoon sun (PAG-ASA had said that it would feel like summer during that day) Kapampangans walked the entire two kilometers to the Mass site. I heard that Cardinals Rosales and Vidal were supposed to attend. But rumor has it that they begged off after hearing GMA was going to crown the image. Ironically, GMA was a no show too! Oh well!
After one day resting at home, I woke up quite early today for another cultural activity, the unveiling of the marker of the National Historical Institute (NHI) in honor of revolutionary heroine Nicolasa Dayrit-Panlilio. This marker is the tenth located in San Fernando, Pampanga and I'm crossing my fingers we will have more within the year.
In attendance were none other than NHI chairman Prof. Ambeth R. Ocampo and board member Dr. Serafin D. Quiason, both fellow Kapampangans; San Fernando Mayor Oscar S. Rodriguez and the city council, members of the San Fernando, Pampanga cultural community, as well as the family of Doña Nicolasa, particularly her surviving children who are all in their 90s.
One thing I always tell the city is that we should do these ceremonies properly, strictly following all the necessary protocol accompanied with dignified pomp and pageantry befitting these kinds of ocassions. Way back in 2004, we brought back the remains of Nicolasa Dayrit to San Fernando from the Loyola Memorial Park in Sucat. And as a revolutionary hero, her remains had to be accorded certain ceremonies and military honors as part of the transfer.
I'm sharing with you the videos of those ceremonies two years ago...