Last September 29, fiesta sa aking parokya. I was very excited because it was the first time I celebrated a fiesta as a parish priest here in Parokya San Miguel, Municipality of Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay. Lubos akong natutuwa sa overwhelming support ng aking mga kaparokya at mga ka-isla. This year’s theme is KAISLA: Managlahi Apan Managhiusa. Special ang situation namin sa Olutanga Island during fiesta. Hindi lang mga Catholics ang mga nagdiriwang, kundi pati na rin ang ating mga kapatid na mga Muslim, Subanens at mga Christian denominations ay nakikiisa sa amin. Wonderful! The town of Mabuhay is indeed a picture of world peace! Unity and beauty in diversity, ika nga.
May festival kami sa fiesta na tinatawag naming Placeres Festival. Ano nga ba ang Placeres Festival? Ano ang kaugnayan niya kay St. Michael na patron ng aming parokya. Let me explain….
Placeres Festival refers to the annual celebration of thanksgiving to the Lord for protection and guidance through the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. This festival is observed in Parokya San Miguel (Diocese of Ipil), Municipality of Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay, Philippines every 29th of September.
In the 1970s, the people of Mabuhay survived an attack from lawless elements who wanted to bring chaos in the island. These bandits did not push through with their evil plans when they saw the hundreds of soldiers surrounding the Church and the parochial school (when in fact, there were none). The people believed that it must have been St. Michael the Archangel who protected them.
The Placeres Festival is a reminder to the people of the island that in the battle between good and evil, the good always triumphs. Placeres, interestingly comes from the word “plaza” — the place where people gathers. In every Placeres Festival, the people gathers at the town plaza to collectively celebrate the memory when once upon a time, the angels came to their rescue.