We love cotton candy!!!
...my lovely little cousins
Hugs and Kisses, seeing many familiar faces...I am finally writing from home.
Lawaan is a coastal town, home to a population of 5,058 with a quarter of it (if not half) probably a relative. The town dates back to late 14th or early 15th century with its discovery by a family, Juan 'Guingot' Gabrillo, his wife, and his children who took refuge from an approching storm under a Lawaan Tree. The storm started shortly after they reached the Monbon Island which was bordering the mouth of what is now the Lawaan River. The town's name was taken from the same tree that sheltered the family from the violent winds. It has gone through the Spanish, the Japanese, and the American occupation and has its own version of local myths & monsters i.e. Agta (a tree demon with more human characteristics. It is described as being a tall - 7 to 9 ft, brown, hairy male with a beard)
, Sigbin (creature that is said to come out at night to suck the blood of victims from their shadows)
, an Engkantada (fairy/nymph)
named Maria Liyang who is said to be the guardian of Monbon Island -- these are often told as bedtime
Lawa-Lawa (Cotton Candy)
One of the things I love about Fiestas!
stories and mostly used to scare kids from wandering off at night. We, Samareños (people from the Samar Islands) are in fact often tagged as barangan
(people who cast curses and practices witchcraft); I have been asked countless of times if I knew how to do witchcraft, which I find rather funny than offensive. It actually comes handy whenever I am on my evil mode
I feel like scaring obnoxious people off *evil laugh
, and how I truly wish I could fly on a broomstick so I don't need to buy expensive plane tickets!
This year offers extra special reasons to be home...
Five years of missing the festivities, I finally made it this year and am back in town to pay homage to our town patron saint, the Child Jesus Sr. Sto. Niño de Lawaan (Fiesta de Sr. Sto. Niño), and to join in the celebration of my High school Alma mater’s Golden Jubilee.
Fiesta de Sr. Sto. Niño is a Roman Catholic practice, a feast in honor of our patron saint enjoyed by everyone regardless of faith. The town fiesta is basically the time when the rich, the poor, the young, and the old
prepare their kitchen’s best, serving food two…three…four times the amount of food served during the Christmas Season. It is the time of fun and chaos, get together(s), balikbayans (overseas workers coming home), reunions, sports feast, and summer break even made more fun with nights of merrymaking. It is the time of the year when pretty much everyone is welcomed inside the house for a meal -- friends, friends of friends, relatives, relatives of relatives, an acquaintance’s friend, a long lost family, a stranger, passers-by…it is one grand feast. It is basically feeding the whole town and it is also when the saying ‘the early bird catches the worm’ greatly applies.
My high school Alma Mater’s anniversary on the other hand also coincides with the town’s Fiesta. Divine Child Academy was established on May 8, 1962, a year after Lawaan became a parish under the Diocese of Borongan. The parish priest then, Fr. Dionesio Avila Chinel, decided to open a parochial school under the supervision of the parish priest. The school started with simple makeshift classroom made of coconut materials, nipa shingles, and round wooden posts constructed adjacent to the parish church and rectory through community work (pintakasi).
permit to operate for first year and second year was granted by the government on June 1961 while for the third year was granted on August 1963. Few years later, the fourth year was granted permit on July 1970. Finally, the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports (MECS) gave its over-all recognition to the school on May 1973 . It is an extra special year for everyone as most of us ‘come home’ for our school’s 50th
year foundation anniversary. My father and all his seven siblings have graduated from DCA, and so did most of the next generation. It has received countless scrutiny and may not look promising at a glance, but we all know what its worth and it will always stand as a reminder of our modest beginnings.
This year's host batch ('87) did a great job making this year's festive celebration a moment to remember. It was a seamless event, from the solicitations, the parlor games, the actual DCA night, and the Medical Mission. I specially appreciated their tribute to the former and current teachers of the Divine Child Academy and the lighting of lanterns in memory of our departed brothers and sisters.
They definitely set the standard!
Crowds gather on the streets, music and dancing nine nights in a row. In the next days the town will be very quiet again as everyone leaves town and return to their homes away from home…but certainly time and again, we will be coming back.
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