May 15 is such a wonderful day to be here in the Philippines because it is the feast day of Saint Isidore the Laborer or more known to the locals as San Isidro de Labrador. He is for some strange reason the patron saint of a lot of towns in our provinces here. So every May 15, there would be a lot of fiestas in most of the barrios to honor him.
For a few years now, I’ve been going to the different fiestas in honor of San Isidro to celebrate, eat, and most of all, take pictures. There are two famous fiestas of San Isidro that are widely visited here in the country, one is Lucban’s Pahiyas and the other one is what I am writing on- Pulilan’s kneeling carabaos.
Pulilan is a small town in the province of Bulacan where most of the Luna side of my family came from. According to my lola’s stories about her hometown, it was famous for these kneeling carabaos that were trained by its farmers to genuflect in front of the church to usher in rain and good harvest.
I arrived in Pulilan on a very humid afternoon. The sea people waiting for the parade of kneeling carabaos only aggravated the afternoon heat.
Photographers were almost everywhere trying to get that perfect shot. I never really understood why they wore scarves all the time…
There were also a lot of marching bands and I was very delighted to hear their creative renditions of modern pop hits. Their songs and quirky choreography was more than enough to set the tone for the fiesta. Plus, their uniforms were so nice to look at.
I also took pictures of the crowd. The ushers were having a hard time making them stay within the barriers.
There were also dancing girls with matching flowers and ornaments. I think they were students competing with other schools for the best dance. This one had a very colorful flowery dresses that matched their yellow and white ribbons.
After quite some time, the carabaos arrived.
These creatures were greatly ornamented and the photographers were rushing to them like crazy to capture the moment that they will genuflect in front of the church. The farmers who were able to make them kneel would get a prize from the government :)
There were a lot of carabaos, more than 100 participated. However, I took shots of those who really stood out like this shrek/the grinch inspired carabao.
Surprisingly, there was a COW that was able to kneel. This was able to gain a lot of attention because there was hardly any cow that bothered to join the parade. It was, according to some residents, a traditional carabao affair. Kudos however to the farmer who taught his cow to kneel.
After the 50th carabao, heavy rains began to pour. This caused the parade to end short with the crowds dispersing everywhere. I got separated from my companions and unfortunately got wet. There wasn’t enough shade for me! Because of this I ended up in the middle of the road and got a chance to take a picture of this young carabao being tugged by its humongous mother.
I was very sure that the mother was looking at me when I snapped her photo. :)
Hopefully next year, I’d get to take better photos of this fiesta!