OBANDO, Bulacan, May 20, 2016 – Many pilgrims flocked to this town from May 17 to 19 to join its annual prayer dance for fertility that was dedicated this year to St. Clare of Assisi, Nuestra Señora de Salambao, and St. Paschal Baylon.
In celebration of the feast day of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception of Salambao, Fr. Virgilio Ramos, parish priest of San Pascual Baylon, urged everyone to join the faithful in dancing as they seek God’s grace and blessings.
Dance of grace
“Lift your prayer intentions to Almighty God, through the intercessions of Mama Mary and our three patron saints: Saint Paschal Baylon, Saint Clare of Assisi, and Nuestra Señora de Salambao,” said the priest in his message during one of the Masses.
“Let us offer our heart’s desire of either having a loving spouse, a healthy child, or good fortune by participating in the dance festival.”
Strengthening families, healing of the sick, passing board exams, finishing education, environmental protection, maintaining national peace and order, especially in Mindanao, and revitalizing one’s call to priestly and religious vocations were among the devotees’ intentions.
Generations of devotees
Each day of the Triduum was filled with Mass schedules both in the morning and in the afternoon. The 7 a.m. Mass was then followed with a procession, featuring the three saints’ images, various dance groups, organizations, and bands playing musical instruments made of bamboo or brass. This was when the devotees and the pilgrims would dance the “fandango” and other forms of folk dances in the streets while singing the traditional hymn, Santa Clara Pinung-Pino (Saint Clare, Most Refined).
“My roots have been accompanying the street dancers with our music using these native instruments way back 1854 and I already belong to the seventh generation” Rodrigo Anastacio, leader of “Sta. Clara Musikong Bumbong,” told CBCP News.
“I must say that we are proud of being a part of this yearly festivity and we pledge to continue this devotion and sacrifice to honor our patrons and to preserve this tradition for the generations to come.”
The Grand Marian Procession concluded the three-day festival on Thursday, May 19. (Myraine Carluen Policarpio / CBCP News)