By Alexandria San Juan
Faith and creativity moved a family in Pulilan, Bulacan to continue celebrating the town’s popular Kneeling Carabao Festival amid a global pandemic through a moving diorama depicting the annual parade and live-streamed online.
The Pulilan Carabao Festival is among the most famous festivals in the province for its unique parade showcasing work animals, mostly carabaos, kneel in front of San Isidro Labrador Church as a thanksgiving gesture to the patron saint for a bountiful harvest.
A health crisis and a lockdown are not enough to stop Pulileños in celebrating the town fiesta and honoring their patron saint despite the cancellation of the actual parade.
Jimwell Tocjayao, 25, and his family decided to come up with a mini version of the parade for this year’s festival and to celebrate San Isidro Labrador, complete with miniature audience and symbolic floats towed by carabaos that are also decorated with garlands.
“Many Pulileños are saying that it’s sad to miss fiesta activities, especially the annual parade of the Kneeling Carabao. Then, I thought all of a sudden, why don’t we make miniature replicas of carriages and carabaos since we still have time to prepare?” Tocjayao told the Manila Bulletin.
It took Tocjayao and his family at least two weeks to finish creating the handcrafted miniature figures, which include more than 50 colorful floats and carabaos for the 19 barangays and over 30 business establishments in Pulilan.
The live video of the miniature parade was posted by Tocjayao on Facebook on Thursday afternoon. It has since been liked, shared, and viewed thousands of times in just hours.
“Based on the reactions and comments, I believe marami naman kaming naming napasaya. Miss na miss nila ang fiesta and I know the feeling too. Inaabangan kasi ito yearly. We are all overwhelmed sa naging feedback (I believe they enjoyed it a lot. They are missing the festival and I know that feeling too as we are looking forward to watch it yearly. We are all overwhelmed with the feedback),” beamed Tocjayao.
Aside from bringing the excitement again to their fellow townsmen, he shared that doing the project had strengthened the bond of their family, especially in the middle of the pandemic.
“Even though, we have a pandemic, nabuo kami and napuno ang bahay ng (our family was made complete and our home was filled with the) spirit of love and cooperation. While doing the live miniature parade, we were really all crying. We were all emotional,” he shared.
The public can watch the video of the miniature parade at bit.ly/2Lrno7R. It will be broadcast again on Tocjayao’s Facebook page on Friday, May 15, on the second day of the two-day-long festival