Padul-ong Festival is a religious festival in Borongan City in the province of Eastern Samar, Philippines held every September 8th. A weeks-long festival, it is conducted in honor of Nuestra Señora dela Natividad, the patroness of the city.
It also coincides with Borongan City Native Pig Lechon Festival.
History of Padul-ong Festival
Padul-ong Festival comes from the word padul-ong, which in the Waray language means deliver or transport. As a fiesta, it recalls the miraculous journey of how Nuestra Señora dela Natividad (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) became the patroness of Borongan during the Spanish rule.
According to the tale, a woman with a box as luggage was given accommodation in a Portuguese ship heading towards the Philippine archipelago. Sadly, she died in the sea voyage.
When the ship arrived in the Philippines, it docked in Punta Maria of the island of Samar. The box that the woman brought was opened and revealed the image of the Blessed Virgin, which was installed in Punta Maria.
Later, stories began to spread that a mysterious lady was taking a bath in Hamorawan spring. She disappeared as soon as people would see her, but she left an unmistakable scent behind.
The waters of the spring were reported to have become miraculous and had healing powers. Townsfolk believed that the image of the Lady was performing miracles and it was then decided that the image be brought to Borongan.
According to expert Lope Coles Robredillo, the belief that the spring of Hamorawan has curative potential may date back before the coming of the Spaniards.
Furthermore, the story that illustrates how the installation of the image of Mary from Portugal in Borongan Cathedral, the Cathedral Parish of the Nativity of Our Lady, came to be could be an accretion of different origin stories.
Padul-ong Festival Schedule of Activities
Padul-ong Festival schedule of activities generally begin towards the end of August. In the 29th of August, kick-off activities occur as well as it is the start of the nine-day novena prayers.
The highlight of the Padul-ong Festival is the reenactment or dramatization of bringing the image from Punta Maria to Borongan Cathedral through a procession. It takes place on September 7. It starts early in the morning where religious rites are performed in the chapel of Punta Maria.
In most years with good weather, the image is moved to Borongan Cathedral through a fluvial procession in Rawis Bay. The image is installed in a special ornamented vessel called andas or pagoda and accompanied by boats of the lay faithful and organizations.
When the day has inclement weather however such as in 2021, the image is transferred through a street procession in a vehicle motorcade. A reenactment soon follows in the plaza that depicts how the patroness arrived from Portugal to the Philippines.
And in September 8, the next day, is the fiesta celebration. It is marked with observance of religious activities such as mass and solemn procession in Borongan Cathedral.
Secular activities of Padul-ong Festival are participated by various institutions, individuals, and organizations of the city. They include civic military parade, street-dancing, talent competitions, sporting events, music fest, etc.
An added attraction is the festival-within-the-festival that gives spotlight to lechon, a roasted whole pig. Started in 2011, it is called the Borongan City Native Pig Lechon Festival. It puts this recipe front and center as a way to promote the city as a food destination.
How to reach Borongan City
One can take a flight from Manila to Borongan Airport. Land trips include buses and vans that will connect different locations in Leyte and Samar. Moreover, ports serve as docking points for shipping vessels that sail through the Leyte Gulf.
- Beronio, Alren. Borongan celebrates Padul-ong festival. ABS-CBN. September 7, 2020. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- Beronio, Alren. Photos: Philippine diocese holds Marian festival amid typhoon. Licas News. September 7, 2021. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- Borongan City marks annual fiesta in honor of Blessed Virgin Mary. Leyte Samar Daily Express. September 8, 2017. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- Padul-ong Festival. The Freeman through Pressreader. September 8, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- Borongan is beautiful! The Philippine Star. October 23, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- Culture, Sports and Recreation. Provincial Government of Eastern Samar. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- Nicart, Alice. Borongan gears up for boulevard facelift. Philippine Information Agency. February 1, 2008. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- Robredillo, Lope Coles. The Padul-ong Festival (of Borongan, Eastern Samar)—A Cultic Aetiology? A Religio-Historical and Literary-Critical Once-Over at the Padul-ong “Tradition” (or, A Theory on the Padul-ong). From the Underside of History. November 28, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2022
- The Legend of the Miraculous Lady in White Lurking in Eastern Samar’s Hamorawan Spring. Choose Philippines. Retrieved September 1, 2022