Are you considering visiting Batangas in July 2022? The best time to do it would probably be around the fourth week of July when a sizable festival will be taking place. Join us as we discover the marvels of the Sublian Festival!
Sublian Festival’s Origin
Sublian is a festival held in Batangas City, the provincial capital of Batangas. It is a two-week-long festival that culminates on July 23, the anniversary of the city’s founding. It dates back to 1988, when then-Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha launched the festival on July 23, 1988, to commemorate Batangas City’s cityhood.
The name Sublian comes from the word “subli,” which refers to a Catholic ceremonial dance. It is performed in honor of the discovery of the Holy Cross in Alitagtag, Batangas during the time of Spanish rule in the country. It is now celebrated as the patron saint of the town of Bauan. This dance is indigenous to the entire province of Batangas.
The subli is composed of lengthy prayers, songs, and dances that follow a set pattern and is typically performed with instrumental accompaniment, like drums. The dancers in the Sublian Festival costume are made up of one, two, or eight couples. The men are leaping and striking the ground with kalaste, bamboo, or wooden clappers, while the women, wearing small-brimmed hats and a scarf called an alampay, use their wrists and fingers to dance in sophisticated movements.
Nowadays, the Sublian festival now includes not only devotional dance and song numbers, but also incredible street dancing performances, indigenous Filipino games, Harana (serenades), the Lupakan, Awitan, and Sayawan.
When and Where is the Sublian Festival Celebrated?
The Sublian Festival is celebrated in Batangas City in July and in Bauan and Agoncillo in May. The festival, which lasts for two weeks, culminates on July 23. During the celebration, Batangas native events like Santacruzan, luwa (declamation to a saint), a folk dance competition, and other Batangas native events are held.
Sublian Festival Activities
The parade usually begins in the morning on July 23rd, following the floral offering. It is frequently attended by city employees, non-governmental organizations, schools, and socio-civic organizations dressed in native attire, and wear adorned subli hats to represent Batangueo characteristics and customs.
The highlight of the event is Foundation Day and the Sublian sa Kalye (in the street), in which participants march and dance the subli in the streets. Around a thousand students participate in a street dancing subli. The parade usually lasts at least an hour or more.
Following the Sublian Parade, the City Hall Complex will host events throughout the day. One of them is an event called Lupakan. The Lupakan (making of a snack called nilupak) at Awitan (singing) held at the People’s Quadrangle is an interesting program during the celebration. You can see how the indigenous snack nilupak is made here. And have a taste of the delectable snack at the same time.
The celebration also features the Patimpalak Sublian dance competition, ending with the ritual of bringing the images of the Holy Child and Holy Cross back to the church.
The Sublian Festival, among other things, not only brought life and color to the traditional cityhood celebration but also resurrected the cultural and religious practice of subli among Batagueos. So, if you are in the area of Batangas City at this time of year, you should check it out. Make sure you go to the Sublian Festival.