Manaragat Festival Monthlong Fiesta Celebration: Now on its 8th year!

The City of Catbalogan, the provincial seat of the Province of Samar, celebrates the month of August with cheerful thanksgiving and positive spirits.

Our annual month-long celebration has always been largely inspired by the life at sea, thus we have fittingly named this annual celebration as the “Manaragat Festival”. This has always been a perfect opportunity to highlight the important role played by our very own Maqueda Bay in shaping our history, culture and economy.

The Catbalogan City Fiesta falls on the 24th of August, which celebrates the feast day of Señor San Bartolome, the Patron Saint of fishermen, and our honor in thanksgiving for the bountiful blessings our City has received through the years.

For every year, our celebrations have been defined by a theme that usually reflects the prevailing sentiment among Catbaloganons. With the prevailing political turmoil and challenges, we found the theme “Celebrating Culture to Mend Differences towards a Unified and Progressive Catbalogan”, a very fitting and timely message to our people.

Through the cooperation of the Catbalogan City Tourism Council (CCTC) and a local youth organization the Waray-Waray Youth Advocates (WARAYA), we hope to exemplify this call for unity to every sector of the city.

 

catbalogan city manaragat festival

 

HISTORY
The MANARAGAT FESTIVAL is a tribute to the fishermen of Catbalogan celebrated every whole month of August. Small fishermen share their catch of fishes and other sea products which they trade in the local market to earn an income that would support their families. The MANARAGAT is a festive dance characterized by varied movements and intricate steps of the different fishes and shells inhabiting Maqueda Bay and beautifully presented by the dancers in fantastic and colorful costumes. This is one of the most colorful and vivid rituals that the Catbaloganons love to portray and witness.

The Manaragat Festival is interpreted by colours, dances and the sound of drums that echoed through the deep culture of the fishing industry that stayed long in the history of Catbaloganons. The City Government of Catbalogan under the tutelage of Mayor Coefredo “Tekwa” Uy encourages every barangay and school to participate in this festival to promote tourism industry as one of the major thrust of his Government.

During the first term of Mayor Coefredo T. Uy in 2004, the first Culture and the Arts Council was created. This multi-sectoral council was tasked to conscientiously retrace the Catbaloganon old way of life and its ethnicity. After a long and tedious painstaking study, it all collectively boiled down to one thing – Catbaloganon has one common cultural identity that revolves around the following feautures: it is a coastal City and it is both fishing and a fish trading community. Mayor “Tekwa” in 2004 commissioned the first August month-long celebration, the first of its kind in the history of Catbalogan to celebrate our unique culture and traditions through a series of activities involving almost all sectors of the community. Sports and livelihood activities were held daily while nightly cultural performances from different schools in Catbalogan were showcased. These activities were purposefully conducted not only to promote and preserve the weakening Catbaloganon traditions.

When this annual celebration started, it was then dubbed as the MANGIRISDA FESTIVAL of Catbalogan rooted from word “isda”, which mean fish – the major catch of the hardworking and steadfast fishermen and fisherfolks inhabiting the coasts of Maqueda Bay. In 2007 however, the general identity of the said festival was changed to a more extensive name. Hence, the MANARAGAT FESTIVAL came into existence embracing not only the fishes but also other marine life such as crustaceans, planktons, and corals that everywhere abode in the waters of Maqueda Bay. Since then, the name grew from a mere celebration to a uniting factor encouraging good camaraderie and positive outlook for the people and for Catbalogan as a whole.
The festival serves as a colorful and lively opening salvo for the Catbalogan City Fiesta, which falls on the following day. Performed in a mardi gras style, the festival is largely inspired by the Maqueda Bay, which bore a significant impact on Catbaloganon’s way of life in the past and even at present.

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