Embracing Roots and Unity at 2nd Balacat Festival

Embracing Roots and Unity at 2nd Balacat Festival

As the 2nd annual Balacat Festival takes place in Mabalacat City, the excitement among Mabalaqueños and visitors alike continue to build. Last year marked the inception of this vibrant celebration, which aimed to reconnect the community with its roots and pay homage to the town's namesake, the Balacat tree. The success of the inaugural festival, with all 27 barangays actively participating, set a high bar for this year's event.

The theme for this year's festival, "Lubenas' Light, Mabalacat Unite: A Festival of Color and Delight," promises a spectacle of tradition, unity, and joy. At the heart of this theme lies the unique and cherished tradition of Lubenas, a folk Christmas tradition found in Pampanga and Tarlac. Mabalacat stands out as one of the few that have preserved and celebrated this tradition in its most traditional and elaborate form. The essence of Lubenas shines through as almost every barangay in Mabalacat will ignite the night sky with their lantern processions. This display of lights and colors not only illuminates the community but also symbolizes the unity and solidarity of the people coming together to celebrate their heritage and shared identity.

A standout feature of this year's festival is the emphasis on cultural appreciation and artistic expression, spearheaded by Mayor Crisostomo Garbo and his daughter, Board Member Winwin Garbo. Their genuine passion for culture and arts has infused the festival with a sense of authenticity and pride, resonating with Mabalaqueños and visitors alike.

The festival's diverse program offers a variety of activities that highlight the best of Mabalacat's practices and talents. From the agro-industrial food fair bazaar to the pavilions representing each barangay, attendees will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the unique flavors and creativity of the city.

Central to the festival is the inauguration and blessing of Tabnuan: Mabalacat Cultural Center, a place dedicated to preserving and promoting the city's heritage. This cultural hub symbolizes a commitment to nurturing artistic expression, fostering societal awareness, and providing a platform for community engagement.

Aside from the Lubenas lantern parade, the festival's lineup also features the Sayaw Pinoy touring concert, the highly anticipated street parade and dance competition, and the coronation night of Miss Mabalacat.

In addition to the festivities, the inclusion of the MCG Takbo Para sa Balacat fun run for a cause underscores the spirit of giving back for mother nature. This event reflects a collective effort to uplift and support the city’s Balacat Tree-planting program.

As we enjoy the 2nd annual Balacat Festival, let us embrace the opportunity to celebrate the unique heritage and cultural identity of Mabalacat City. Through shared experiences, creative expressions, and community engagement, we can come together to honor our past, cherish our present, and shape a brighter future for generations to come.

The Balacat Festival serves as a platform for showcasing the creativity, talent, and cultural richness of Mabalacat. From the intricately designed pavilions representing each barangay to the graceful contestants of the Miss Mabalacat pageant, the festival encapsulates the spirit and diversity of the city.

Moreover, the festival provides an opportunity for Mabalaqueños and visitors to immerse themselves in the local traditions, arts, music, and cuisine, fostering a sense of pride and belonging within the community. It serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving and promoting cultural heritage for future generations to cherish and uphold.

In the midst of the celebrations and festivities, let us not forget the significance of honoring our past, celebrating our present, and shaping our future together as a united community. The Balacat Festival stands as a shining example of how tradition, culture, and unity can intertwine to create a tapestry of memories that will endure for generations to come.


Kuya J Pelayo IV is a Kapampangan broadcast journalist. For comments and suggestions, e-mail at 4th.pelayo@gmail.com


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