Pasanting Festival in San Carlos City

Written by Fé Casillan Garcia, PhD

Pasanting Festival is being conceptualized to be a lavish and colorful cultural event to be held for the very first time in San Carlos City (Pangasinan) on November 12, 2010. The proposed underlying theme for Pasanting 2010 is “In Pursuit of Good Health and Quality of Life.”

This will be the first time that some San Carlosans will attempt to innovate a new miniature culture of their own in terms of improving and beautifying whatever blessings they have in life, blessings that are part and parcel of the whole cultural setup in the Philippines.

“Pasanting” is a Pangasinanse term which means “to adorn.” The root word “santing” may mean an ornament. True to form, the festival grounds will be filled with ornaments composed of all sorts of decorated items. “Pasanting” may also mean a “precious offering”- an offering to our Maker; and also, an offering to our interested viewers, or whatever the case may be. Consequently, the entire cultural scene will display varied ornaments and even living things, like for instance plants, flowers and pets.

In all humility, this pasanting event is a brave attempt of would-be participants to introduce a new exciting culture to help San Carlosans cherish some things important in their lives by way of merrymaking, networking, creativity, resourcefulness, and value clarification schemes. Pasanting 2010 may just be a one-shot deal of event or it may later be simulated or modified by other sectors for it to become a one-of-a-kind Filipino symbolic culture, but specifically, a San Carlosan cultural celebration.

Pasanting 2010 in San Carlos City sponsored by the Marcelo Casillan Foundation (MCF) in coordination with the Department of Education, Culture & Sports (DepEd), and the Binalatongan Cultural and Historical Society (BCHS), will take place at the Central I Swimming Pool. The facades of little buildings, huts and other surroundings around the pool will be adorned by participating groups with decorations of different colors.

As a rationale for holding this aforementioned event, we can name a few. We know for a fact that festivals are a common scene in our country. We are also known for celebrating festival occasions in almost every time of the year with respect to patron saints or for other reasons. These festivals are considered social events that make possible for the public expression of a people’s sense of collectivity. In the name of culture, the said festival may also be important for our social life and may sometime serve as one status symbol for the Binalatongan Historical and Cultural Society.

Thus, the people of San Carlos should be highly convinced that the immense treasure house of San Carlos’ cultural heritage ought to be appreciated as a priceless possession both by its citizenry and non-residents as well.

Adapted from the very popular Pahiyas of Lucban, Quezon, the Pasanting may not match the sophistication, scope, grandeur, and revelry of the Lucban Pahiyas festival but it will certainly add educational and cultural dimensions to our lives especially to the academe sector and the other sectors as well. But considering logistics, lack of time, and the fact that this is just an initial activity, we will still lack many necessary ingredients and catalysts for a huge and successful affair. Hence, we plan to start this festival in low gear – simple but of course, festive.

As for the objective, this festival aims to help San Carlosans become more aware and conscious of the need for preserving cultural identity. Every meaningful exhibit on display will convey something about the San Carlos and the Filipino culture as well, and thus, will contribute in promoting and preserving that culture. Cultural exhibits are there for the visitors to see, to witness, to admire, to cherish, and to experience.

Possible participants in the Pasanting may include school administrators, teachers, students and citizens from the private sector. Willing San Carlosans from all sectors will make the festival come alive with their respective colorful decorations. Pasanting will not be complete without the traditional open house celebration adorned with a lavish display of exhibits. The exhibits may represent what San Carlos is famous for, in terms of its territorial scope, talents, livelihood, food, costumes, antiques, and food products. Everything that will be featured and displayed will convey something about the people of San Carlos and Filipinos in general.

In the viewing process, it will be inevitable for the visitors to witness the participants’ creativity, resourcefulness, camaraderie, hospitality, values, customs, traditions, religiosity, sense of humor, and many more skills. In the process, cooperation and the bayanihan spirit will make the project smooth and pleasant. Certain cultural themes like, “in unity there’s strength,” “dahan-dahan, mahina ang kalaban,” joking relationships, etc. are also likely to emerge from among the participants. More importantly, the buntings/banderitas and bamboo lattices or pabitins will not only serve as decorations but will also become part of a game for children and adults who may win some take-home some souvenirs.

Pasanting 2010 will also have its entertainment portion for the visitors who will be coming to view the festival exhibits. For instance, there may be an Aerobics/Hataw number; singing and declamation renditions, folk and modern dancing, swimming exhibitions, and a parade around the pool grounds. Leadership coming from the sponsoring teams (MCF, DepEd, and the BHCS) and moral and other kinds of support from the government, non-government, and business sectors will serve as the secret key to the success of this proposed event.

Final Say. God permitting, Pasanting 2010 will undertake its maiden venture on November 12 and it will be on a trial basis. If and when it takes off the ground, it will be a FEAT and a blessing for San Carlosans even in a small sort of way. This festival will be introduced as a beginning culture…who knows, it might develop slowly into a tradition if some interested sectors in the City will be interested to continue this event in the years to come. Through the spirit of volunteerism, some people are needed to lead this activity but they have to be able to catalyze energy and dynamism from willing and enthusiastic participants who would be more than willing to participate, initiate, and promote this new culture. Suntok sa buwan but nothing is impossible for as long as we have faith and guts and for as long as there are dreamers and doers. God bless us all; to Him be all the glory!

Prepared by
Fé Casillan Garcia, PhD

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