November 30, 2023

Mabalacat City’s Fiestang Caragan  holds first face-to-face festival

By Justine Rich Talusan

THE Mabalacat City government under the leadership of Mayor Crisostomo Garbo marked another history with the Fiestang Caragan held in a face-to-face set-up as the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down.

This was announced by Dionisio “June” Magbalot,  overall director of Fiestang Caragan 2022,  following the culmination of the weeklong celebration on March 6.

Magbalot, one of the culture and arts pillars in Mabalacat City, has been in charge of the annual merriment since the 1990s.

Fiestang Caragan is an annual event honoring  the Aeta heritage of this city that was founded by Haring Caragan, an Aeta chieftain in 1712.

“While we understand that some of our peers in the creative and events industry have been limited to virtual celebrations online, the recent downgrading of alert levels and zero new cases in our place served as bases in the decision to celebrate it face-to-face,” Magbalot said.

Magbalot, a COVID patient himself, said  the event was aimed at moving past the challenges thrown by the pandemic.

“This is our contribution in helping permeate optimism and as we move forward from the pandemic as may be gleaned in our fiesta theme this year,” said Magbalot.

Fiestang Caragan 2022 chairperson and city councilor Win-Win Garbo said  the committee has enforced measures that uplifts adherence to government-mandated public health standards, including vaccination.

“It has always been a challenge to hold a grand festivity in a regular set-up. It’s a good thing that our local government placed high importance on vaccination. Now, we are reaping the benefits of having a substantial number of vaccinated persons who were allowed to watch the festivities,” the young Garbo said.

As part of the measures in protecting the spectators, the main fiesta events were held outdoors.

It has  deployed event marshals to remind the public to wear their facemasks, observe safe distancing, and use sanitizing solutions at all times. Checking of body temperatures and vaccination cards is also mandatory prior to entering the main venue. Handwashing areas were also mounted at the main event area.

Mayor Garbo said  the celebration of Fiestang Caragan this year is a manifestation of Mabalaqueños’ triumph and resilience over any adversity.

“Just like in the Pinatubo days, we are glad that our city has shown once again that Mabalaqueños are resilient and triumphant, and that we all can move forward despite the uncertainties caused by the pandemic. It showed one common aim in not just becoming overcomers but also in being firm and resolute to bounce from challenges,” Mayor Garbo said.

The city mayor moved the fiesta attendees with pride and love for the city saying: “If God is with us, who is against us? Sino po ba ang makakapag-isip na magkakaroon tayo ng isang matagumpay na Fiestang Caragan ngayong kalagitnaan ng pandemya? Akalain ba nating matatapos ang isang linggong selebrasyon ng kapiyestahan ng matagumpay at organisado?”