FOR the first time in more than four centuries, the local government of Macabebe celebrated the annual Macabebe Day on June 3, Monday, instead of the usual January 17, to honor the bravery of its nameless hero.
This came after the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) recommended to Mayor Anette Flores-Balgan to celebrate a significant moment in its history as a form of remembering its founding roots, according to Municipal Tourism Officer Catherine Flores.
Flores said the NHCP noted the Battle of Bangkusay in particular, wherein a nameless Macabebe hero and martyr led a pack of warriors from Pampanga and Bulacan provinces in resisting the first attempts of Spain to colonize Luzon.
However, the historic battle, which transpired on June 3, 1571 in the Bangkusay Channel in Tondo, Manila, was unsuccessful, and led to the death of the young nameless hero, and enabled the Spaniards to establish themselves throughout the city and its neighboring towns.
“Although he was unsuccessful in his quest to protect the Filipino freedom, we still celebrate his bravery and leadership to fight the Spanish forces which led to his early death,” Flores said.
While the nameless hero’s death anniversary is now on its 448th year, Flores said the local government still followed the town’s official founding year of 1575 -- 444 years -- in honor of its official roots.
Meanwhile, the local government on Monday, June 3, enjoined several schools in town for the Santero Festival street dance and La Jota Cabea folk dance competitions to officially celebrate Macabebe Day.
Themed “Kasalesayan, Kultura at Kabyayan,” the dance competitions are aimed to educate and instill to Macabebe youth the history, heritage and culture of local in a fun and festive way, said Flores.
The Santero Festival dance, which was launched in 2018, showcases the process of ecclesiastical statue-making or “santero,” which is one of the major livelihoods in the town, while the La Jota Cabea dance is inspired by the military heritage of town, being known as the land of enigmatic Filipino soldiers.
“Through this dance, we are able to educate the children about our rich culture and history and of course, one of our famous industries here which is santero, which provides livelihood to thousands of families,” said Flores.
Crowned as champion of the dance competition is St. Nichol’s Academy, while first runner-up was Macabebe Elementary School and second runner-up was Pampanga Colleges.