Scrambling for Heaven’s bounty

By Kimmy Baraoidan, VERA Files

Photos by Chris Quintana and Kimmy Baraoidan

The quiet town of Sariaya in the province Quezon becomes chaotic every 15th of May, when everybody becomes children again scrambling for Heaven's bounty laid out all over the place.

Aptly called Agawan (from the word agaw which means grab) festival, the annual event is in honor of San Isidro de Labrador, the patron saint of farmers. It’s a thanksgiving fiesta.

Houses are adorned with farm produce: fruits, vegetables, grains. Bagakays or young bamboos are set up to hold more goodies that people snatch as the procession passes by the houses. It’s another version of the grand Pabitin.

More goodies are tossed by homeowners as the procession wades through the streets. The more ferocious the scrambling, the louder the shouts and the laughter.

It’s open to everybody- young, old, boy, girl, gay, black, brown, white. The only requirement is willingness to get down and dirty. Some even bring bags and sacks for their loot. No one goes home empty-handed.

Despite the very physical jostling and the possible danger of getting stepped on, people join. It’s part of the fun. After all, it’s all about partaking and sharing God’s blessings.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

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