Turogpo Festival is a water buffalo festival and Black Saturday event in the village of Camansi in the town of Carigara, Leyte, Philippines. It is held every Black Saturday, the Saturday of the Holy Week, in the month of either March or April. This yearly event attracts thousands of visitors.
History of Turogpo Festival
Accounts vary about the beginnings of Turogpo Festival. Some stated it started in the 1600s, others towards the end of the 19th century or in the first decade of the 20th century. What is certain is that it was an indigenous event that began during Spanish colonial era.
Turogpo Festival is derived from turogpo, a word in Waray language that means to meet, and it was an occasion for match-making. It was held as a means to express opposition against Spanish religious authorities by defying the expectations on how one must behave during Holy Week.
Originally, it took place on Good Friday. Its schedule was changed to Black Saturday upon the request of the Diocese of Palo through Bishop Cipriano Urgel in 1983.
The event was cancelled in 2023 due to possible violation to Republic Act No. 8485, otherwise known as the “The Animal Welfare Act of 1998,” that was passed on February 11, 1998.
Under Section 6 of the said law, it stated, “It shall be unlawful for any person to torture any animal, to neglect to provide adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat any animal or to subject any dog or horse to dogfights or horsefights, kill or cause or procure to be tortured or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter, or maltreat or use the same in research or experiments not expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.”
Turogpo Festival Activities
Turogpo Festival is famous for its animal fights. There are three categories: Pasungay, Paaway, and Carambola.
Pasungay, which is derived from the word sungay which means horn, is a competition that gives prizes to owners of carabaos (water buffalos) that win from locking horns with other fellow carabaos.
Paaway, which comes from the word away that translates to a fight, is a match between horses (stallions) urged to fight with the presence of female horses.
Carambola, which translates to a clash, is cock-fighting among roosters.
How to reach Camansi, Carigara, Letye
Camansi is about five kilometers from the town center of Carigara, and the town is about 45 kilometers from the nearest airport, the Tacloban City Airport.
- “Turogpo” fast becoming a tourist attraction during Black Saturday in Leyte. Leyte Samar Daily Express. April 23, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2022
- Restituto A. Cayubit. Centuries-old ‘turogpo’ festival lures tourists. Manila Bulletin through PressReader. March 29, 2016. Retrieved December 12, 2022
- Jennette Fariola-Ruedas. Leyte holds Turogpo Festival. ABS-CBN. April 15, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2022
- Anselmo Roque. With summer ending, image of carabao as fiesta star lingers. Philippine Daily Inquirer. June 2, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2022
- Roel Amazona. Leyte town cancels 400-yr-old Lent rite of animal fighting. Philippine News Agency. April 4, 2023. Retrieved April 6, 2023
- Republic Act No. 8485. Official Gazette. Retrieved April 6, 2023