Pampanga holds 'festival of giants'

By Jay Pelayo, ABS-CBN Pampanga

Posted at Apr 30 2009 03:08 PM | Updated as of Apr 30 2009 11:46 PM

STA. ANA, PAMPANGA - In a small village in Pampanga, giants rose for the first time in what local residents call the "Mahigangga Festival."

The festival, held in Barangay Santiago, featured a parade of giant characters which stood about ten feet tall, and comically bulging around the midsection. The costumes were made out of wire and colorful cloth, and required only one person to operate.

The Mahigangga (which is a Kapampangan term for "giant") reportedly began when residents noticed a group donning giant costumes and dancing every Christmas. Since then, event organizers decided to incorporate the tradition into a unique festival.

Dr. Ding Martin, this year's "Hermano Mayor" (a term for a person who sponsors or oversees an entire village's fiesta), said this was the first time their village held this kind of event. He revealed that the preparations took just over a month and the funds came from solicitations.

Martin, who thought the event was memorable and colorful, said he would like this festival to continue in the next few years.

Aside from the giants, other participants wore various colorful costumes, mostly home-made, to create a lively atmosphere. Some costumes were adapted from different festivals like the ones in "Higantes" in Angono municipality, Rizal and "Sinukwan" in Pampanga, while some costumes were inspired by the Brazilian parades. One group adapted the famous dance group Jabawockeez and had some dance moves of their own.

The festival, held in commemoration of their forthcoming Feast of Santiago on May 3, showed the creativity and imagination of the people of Barangay Santiago.