Sublian Festival in Batangas City

BATANGAS CITY celebrated its 46th Foundation Day recently highlighted by various activities including the Sublian Festival. The said festival was started by the city Mayor Eduardo Dimacuha on July 23, 1988 on the annual observation of the city hood of Batangas City. The objective was to renew the practice of the subli. The City Government of Batangas is one of the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ (CCP) regional art centers in Luzon under the Kaisa Sa Sining program of the CCP Cultural Exchange Department.

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A subli is presented during a feast, as ceremonial worship dance in honor to the Holy Cross. The image of the Holy Cross was found during the Spanish rule in the town of Alitagtag. It is the patron saint of ancient town of Bauan. Indigenous to the province of Batangas, the subli is made up of lengthy prayers, songs and dances in predetermined arrangement. The dancers are made up of one, two or eight couples, where the males  shuffle in intense fashion and hit the ground using a bamboo stick, while the females dance with a sophisticated wrist and finger movement.

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Themed as Yamang Batangenyo! Palakat na ih! Tara na sa Sublian Festival!, other events included the Parada at Sublian sa Kalye, (Sublian Street Parade) wherein partakers marched and danced the subli on the streets. The Sublian Float Parade started in the morning after the floral offering, participated by the city government employees, non-government organization, schools and socio-civic organizations clad in native attire with adorned subli hats to symbolize Batangueño attributes and customs. The celebration also featured the Lupakan (making of a snack called nilupak) at Awitan (singing) held at the patio of the Basilica of the Immaculate Concepcion, as well as the “Patimpalak Sublian sa Batangas” (Subli Dance Competition) held at the Batangas City Sports Coliseum, ending with the “Paghahatid sa mga Mahal na Poong Sto. Niño at Sta. Cruz” (Bringing the images of the Holy Child and Holy Cross back to the Church).

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