From Tacloban City, Leyte province comes the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival which is a fiesta partly in honor to the region’s patron saint; Santo Niño de Leyte. It’s a much-awaited event that has been celebrated since 1987 and combines the festivals of Pintados and Kasadyaan.
Different municipal authorities come together intending to showcase cultural unity during the month-long Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival. The cooperation, however, lasts only as long as the dance competition hasn’t begun, during which municipalities ruthlessly battle each other for the most epic and graceful dance-story. Painted and festive participants characterize the Pintados Kasadyaan festival enjoined in much dance and aplomb.
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Why Leyte Peoples Celebrate the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival:
Leyteneos recall a time in pre-Spanish days with their epic songs depicting war and religion. These days included the pagan idol worship drummed to an indigenous beat that narrates epic stories. Tacloban city is filled with amazingly painted bodies within the colorful street fair that is the parade. Pintados festival culminates with competitions ingrained in the merrymaking very natural to Filipino fiestas.
Brightly attractive colors of dazzling neon blues and luminous greens are on display to give visitors a glimpse of life on the Leyte islands in the distant past. Pintados festival is one part of the Pintados-Kasadyaan fete which was initially used to showcase the tattooed people of Samar province also known as ‘Pintados.’ Kasadyaan festival, on the other hand, celebrates the cultural diversity of the Leyte region of the Philippines.
Kasadyaan is a Visayan tongue word meaning to make merriment jollily. Local legend and folklore are portrayed by each participating municipality in colorful dance and song. The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is backed by a Pintados Foundation which was incorporated in 1986 for the Sr. Santo Nino fiesta.
Who Were The Infamous Pintados?
This term was used by the Spanish to describe the indigenous tattooed Cebuano Visayan peoples. These were the natives of Samar, Leyte, and Negros in the Pilipino regions of the Biçayas. Their men had warlike tattoos and painted bodies that covered the whole person. These tattoos were applied by pricking the skin with iron needles and rubbing in black powder.
These tattoos were the indication of a man’s courage in the field of battle, and the more one had; the more successful they were deemed. It wasn’t uncommon to see vigorously decorated warriors prancing about the islands when the Spaniards came. The westerners at first thought their body art quite ignoble and peculiar, but they soon came to realize the profoundly entrenched indications of magnificence. A warlike people, the Pintados pirated the neighboring lands and sea for precious Mangubat or loot.
They lived for the conquest of others; making numerous raids with bloody fighting and much plundering. The Pintados would relegate all the booty captured during their raids to the chiefs with a tiny portion proportioned to the Timawas or oarsmen. Indigenous Pintados were also characterized with long hair that they wore knotted above their heads.
Large gold or ivory earrings could also be seen under the decorative scarves around the women’s heads. These wore long skirts topped with a sleeved loose jacket with no collar.
Last Year’s Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival:
The parade for previous year’s Pintados-Kasadyaan festival had five contingent municipal bodies in attendance. Though this number was less than the past year’s participating regions, they were made up mostly of festival competition champions. Leyte emerged the grand victor with the Tribu Buraburon of Burauen, the Heraite of Leyte, coming second.
Both Sanggutan of Barugo with Tribu Pasaka of Tanauan, Leyte; and Solosogui of Balangiga, Eastern Samar made the dance competition very explosive. The winner of Pintados-Kasadyaan festival gets to participate in the mother of all Philippine festivals; the Manila Aliwan Fiesta.
Mayor Remedios Petilla from the town of Palo and former Leyte regional governor applauded how the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival attracts tourist and serves them a good dose of the rich history and culture of the province and its peoples. The fiesta also saw the Philippine Information Agency’s Pintados-Kasadyaan Fiesta committee executing beauty pageants framed Ms. Teen and Ms. Pintados.
Why Come To The Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival?
These merged festivals of Pintados and Kasadyaan portray the body paint techniques reminiscent of the ancient war tattoo patterns of the warriors. This feast was previously known as the Leyte Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival or the ‘Festival of Festivals.’ Señor Santo Niño de Leyte is the patron saint of the Leyte islands who is also revered every June 29th.
Celebrating the Pintados-Kasadyaan festival enables visitors and inhabitants to value the excellence of ancient Filipino customs. Though the tattooing of warrior Pintados and worship of pagan spirits have since ceased, the Pintados-Kasadyaan festival lets us relieve those glorious and colorful times of the nation’s past.
Pintados-Kasadyaan festival parade is the culmination of the event that ushers in the Tacloban City Fiesta on June 30th. The ceremony was peaceful and orderly with security provided by the Leyte Police Provincial Office and Eastern Visayas Regional Police Office.