Because I’m more or less ignorant to the local happenings here in Dumaguete, and I’m not really familiar with fiesta days and the like, I had to hear the sound of the parade and my aunt insisting that I go out and take pictures and watch the parade.
So last November 19, Dumaguete celebrated the Sandurot Festival. So what is the Sandurot Festival all about, and what does it actually celebrate? Because I didn’t fully understand the explanation given to me when I asked, and because the internet has more information on it than I could possibly hope for, I just decided to google it and found something. According to this blog site called Philippine Landmarks, Sandurot is derived from the Visayan word “Pakig-sandurot” which means fellowship and reaching out, which is basically the characteristic of being hospitable – a common Filipino trait. Dumaguete City is actually called the “City of Gentle People”, so being hospitable and welcoming is in the nature of Dumagueteños.
Nowadays you can see many foreigners who both live and visit Dumaguete, but even in the past, a lot of people from other countries would often come and live in various places around the Philippines. Dumaguete City, in more recent times, has been popular because it is a university city. Dumaguete is most known for Silliman University – the first Protestant university and first American private university in Asia. Recently, I’ve noticed a lot of Koreans in the city. It’s amazing how Beijing is full of them, so is Manila, and Cebu, and even here. Makes you wonder if any of them are left in S. Korea. But seriously, it just goes to show how cheap education and a low standard of living can attract foreigners to flock here. Of course, the kind personalities of Filipinos in general is also one thing to take into account.
So apparently, the parade for the Sandurot Festival is a presentation of costumes and dances leading up to a sort of contest. Some baranggays participate in the parade and just entertain the audience with their costumes and dances. Later on in the evening, they hold a contest and the winner will represent the city during the Sinulog Festival to be held in Cebu in January.
One of the things I realized is best represented by the festival is how the Philippines is a product of varying cultures and traditions. One cannot say that a certain thing is purely Filipino, because we are a product of not just the Spanish, American and Japanese occupation, but also of Malay, Chinese, Polynesian (and etc) influences.
The picture above is a float of the famous Dumaguete Belfry, a stone tower built sometime in the 1800’s. When I was little, my relatives told me that a long time ago, pirates would come and loot the small towns along the coast. And when I mean loot, they don’t just steal money and items…..they would also steal away or rape the women. So, this belfry was built to help warn the villagers that pirates were coming. Someone would watch out for the pirates and if they were spotted, they would ring the bells in the belfry, warning the villagers to take cover.
And just because I find this amusing, this is one of the sponsors for the event. Panda Ice Cream Haus, and their mascot…of course..a panda. When I was little, they would often sponsor the ice cream for the final presentation day of our swimming classes. I was never fond of their buko ice cream, but they have other delicious ice cream flavors and they’re actually quite popular with the locals.
Since I don’t have a lot of really nice pictures to share, or they’re mostly repetitive, I’ve taken the liberty of posting the two videos I took of the parade. I hope you’ll enjoy them. They make the parade seem more realistic than my photos and explanations from earlier.