Last December 13, I chanced upon a procession in one of the busiest streets in the city of Angeles. Luckily, I was bringing my camera to capture an event I would never have known existed in my own city. My hometown.
The usually hectic road of Sto. Rosario was closed for the night as locals and beautiful traditional lanterns danced their way in front of the Holy Rosary Parish Church (Pisamban Maragul).
Traditional lanterns designed as stars, angels and even fishes were paraded in honor of each of the 10 participating barangays’ Patron saints. Students dressed up colorfully danced gleefully in the wee hour of the night as Christmas music blare from the bands. And locals, seated peacefully at the deserted street watch as another year of tradition enfolds.
Ing Lubenas ning Pasku or “the Novena of Christmas” is a tradition that dates back to the 1800s. Angelenos mastered the craft of lantern making and showcased their work during the anticipated procession. Today, the locals did not stray away from tradition. It truly is a glimpse of the past as beautifully handcrafted lanterns, made as they were hundreds of years ago, are lit up decorating the perfect façade as locals chant their way into our hearts.
That night, I had a new found respect for my city. I have lived in Angeles City my whole life but never knew that it is a treasure chest full of traditions. From that night on, as I was enjoying a freshly cooked bibingka bought on the sidewalks, I swore to learn more of the city that I came from. Admittedly, my city has its fair share of reputation, good and bad. Now, I aim to share more of the good, to hopefully cast the bad into oblivion. That night, I've never been more proud to call myself Angeleno.
To get there:
There are regular bus rides from Manila to Dau, Pampanga.
Take the jeepney (Angeles-Mabalacat) to get to the city proper. Another jeepney ride (Checkpoint Highway) will take you straight to Sto. Rosario Street.
Food concessionaires are everywhere, offering traditional Filipino Christmas food like bibingka, puto bumbong and tsokolate.