While fairs and festivals in general have religious and seasonal themes, others have cultural and historical significance. These occasions could be the day institutions are founded or any other event which the community decides to commemorate periodically. Such is the case of the “Tinabangay” Festival in Bucas Grande Island, Socorro, Surigao del Norte, Philippines held on the 22nd day of February every year in time for the town’s foundation day. Nevertheless, of all fairs and festivals, the one in Socorro stands out to be forever unique for 3 compelling reasons.
- Its Historical Fervor. The Bucas Grande fairs and festivals trace the history facts of the island municipality. You can see street dancers from participating contingents depicting the coming into the island of scores of families searching for greener pastures from the island of Leyte in the Visayas in 1919 being joyfully welcomed by the natives of then Sitio Bunga. Further, you can witness the performers portraying the heroism of the local men responding to the shout of “Socorro” from the church workers accompanying a Spanish priest pleading for “help” as the sailboat they were riding towards the place was battered by gigantic waves and on the verge of capsizing in one Sunday morning of 1920. Furthermore, you can see dancers illustrating the local defenders fighting a one-sided battle against the Philippine Constabulary forces assisted by the mighty US Marines backed up by “USS Sacramento” warship in 1924 on mere suspicion that they were members of a “colorum” or unregistered society founded to rebel against the government. Finally, you can watch the street dancers characterizing the lowly Socorronhons being shouted at as “colorums ” and “mad men” by the people from the neighboring towns in the aftermath of the 1924 Colorum Uprising.
- Its Cultural Theme. The Socorro fairs and festivals features the people helping people culture of the place, hence, the term “Tinabangay” in the local dialect and “Bayanihan” in the Filipino language. Here you can see dancers depicting their forebears who, in response to the derisive and ridiculous remarks from their neighbors, had decided to form into a cohesive community thereby giving birth to the “Tinabangay” activity in the later part of the 1940’s, wherein, each and every able-bodied Socorronhon has to live the privacy of his life for one whole month or exactly 30 days in a year and offer his labor services for free in the house construction and collective farming activities with the house and farm owners only shouldering the food and material cost. Relative thereto, you can witness the performers portraying the actuations of various sectors in an actual “tinabangay” with one sector in full gear performing carpentry works, others doing masonry works, the rest depicting as labor assistants, the farmers tilling the land and harvesting crops, fishermen catching fish as viands for the laborers and most importantly, the lovely ladies taking turns preparing the most nutritious and delicious foods as a means of easing the weariness of the workers.
- Its Festive and Service Mood. The Bucas Grande event is not only a plain festival but an annual fair for the entire island municipality. You can witness the shops and stalls selling handicrafts, garments notably the used clothing popularly known as “ukay-ukay” and other wares being set up to let people go on a little shopping spree. You can also view fun-filled activities for children and grown-ups being undertaken, cultural programs including magic and puppet shows being organized to regale the crowd and joyful competitions being done to enhance public participation. Further, you can take part in the medical-dental mission sponsored by the municipal and provincial governments as well as the blood-letting sponsored by the local medical technologists’ society. In the latter part of the day, you can participate the “Harog Festival” and gaily feast on the porridge in more than a thousand large kettles being lined along the major streets in the town center prepared by the various people’s organizations, schools and agencies for free to the well-wishers. Finally, you can savor the customary fireworks display in the later part of the night done in the town square to signal the end of the fairs and festivals in Bucas Grande.
Fairs and Festivals – Final Opinion
Fairs and festivals help to celebrate and showcase the rich history and culture of the place through arts, music and fun. It provides men, women and children from all walks of life the occasion and opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones. It is all about celebrating, partying, eating, shopping, establishing relationships and merry-making. The fun and frolic at the fairs and festivals in Socorro can only be experienced rather than explained. So come, visit Bucas Grande and savor the uniqueness of its fairs and festivals.