The agricultural town of Mogpog in the northeastern portion of the island is indebted to their patron saint San Isidro Labrador for their annual harvests. To pay tribute to the saint and to the farmers whose tools labored the land for many months, the local government adopted the Kangga Festival which is celebrated annually to coincide with San Isidro Labrador’s feast day of May 13. “Kangga” in Marinduquenian Tagalog is a sled made of bamboo usually drawn by carabao and is used by farmers to transport tools or harvests from their homes to the fields or to the market. On the day of the festival, holy mass is celebrated in the local church in thanksgiving to San Isidro Labrador.
This is followed by the display of various colorfully decorated kanggas by local farmers from different villages. A usual kangga displayed includes not only the sled itself but also the farmer’s tools such as the iron plow, scythe, coconut husker, other farm equipment, even the carabaos. These kanggas are blessed by the parish priest to ensure good harvest in the next farming season. The kanggas together with their owners (who are dressed in their best farm costume) are paraded around town to the tune of the brass band. The owners also carry with them various food trays and baskets filled with an assortment of farm produce. At the end of the parade is the heavily decorated kangga of San Isidro Labrador.
After the parade, farmers can also show-off their best and biggest produce in the contests prepared for them. There is also a kangga racing competition, where farmer and beast join forces to reach the finish line and claim their prize.
Check out more interesting Philippines Festivals.
Epi Fabonan is a history teacher with a wide array of background on local history and geography. He loves to travel and document his adventures through photo-essays, slideshows and short films.