|ALL ABOUT THE TURUMBA FESTIVAL:
Every year during the months of April and may, the people
of Pakil, in the province of Laguna celebrates the Turumba Festival. It commemorates the
seven sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is held 7 times each year between the months
of April and May. The first is held on the Friday before Palm Sunday and the last falls on
During the late 18th century, some fishermen
saw an picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary caught in their net while fishing in
Laguna de Bay. The fishermen then decided to bring the image to the nearest church
they could find. When they reached the seashore, all efforts to bring it to the church was
futile because the image became so heavy. the following morning a lot of people gathered
around the image because of the news that it was immovable. When the priest arrived, he
and the people vowed that they would make an annual pilgrimage to the image. in
they succeeded in bringing it to they church.
Early Accounts of the Turumba:
French naval surgeon, Paul P. de la Gironiere, wrote the earliest
description of the turumba Festival. He lived in the town of Jala-Jala in
the neighboring province of Rizal during the 1830's - 1840's. His book
entitled Twenty Years in the Philippines , written in the 19th
century, contained an account of the Turumba.
"Some religious festivals especially those in the countryside, are
influenced by beliefs. For instance, there is a procession celebrated
yearly in the town of Pakil where all the sick and invalid take part in by
dancing. In this manner, they believe, that they will get cured of their
sufferings. Coming from places as far as 20 miles, the lame and sick who
still have a little bit of strength plod themselves along to Pakil to
participate in the fiesta.
Gironiere also had a different version about the origin of the Turumba Festival. He was told that the festival began with an Armenian whose boat capsized in Laguna de Bay during a storm. The Armenian promised that he would hold a procession in honor of the Blessed Virgin if he reaches the shore safely. He fulfilled his vow and while dancing he shouted "Turumba!, Turumba! " . But this seems an implausible explanation according to Alejandro Roces.1 The story does not account for any of the unique features of the turumba not even the meaning of the word.
Origin of the word "Turumba":
what I have read, the word "Turumba" might have ome from two
words; One is "turo",
which means to point, the other one being "umbay",
which is the dirge sung by the invalids or sick.
earlier times cookies were used to commemorate the feast of the saints. It
was an important medium of mass communication back then. They were used to
project the image of the saints.
1 Alejandro Roces is the author of the book Fiestas in the Philippines. I found some of the information I wrote about the turumba festival in his book.
2 I also got this from Mr. Roces' book. I think there is no more cookies that are being sold during the Blessed Virgin's feast.
Copyright © 2001
Revised: March 07, 2001 .