The city government of Catbalogan in Samar has canceled this year’s Manaragat Festival due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Mayor Dexter Uy in a statement on Wednesday said the festival parade and showdown held every August 23 will be suspended in compliance with the “new normal” guidelines and health protocols amid the health crisis.
“This is also in consideration that the usual participants of the festival are the primary and secondary schools, and this year’s opening of classes is delayed until August and to be held in different modalities, thus making it impossible to push through as health protocols are to be carefully considered,” he added.
Manaragat, a local term for fishermen, is a festive dance characterized by varied movements and steps of the different species of fish and seashells, presented by dancers in exotic and colorful costumes.
It honors St. Bartholomew, believed by the locals to have maintained the richness of Maqueda Bay as the major fishing ground in the province of Samar.
“Although it has been a tradition, we believe that the ultimate purpose of this practice is to pay homage to the patron saint, who has interceded for us Catbaloganons the great blessings we have received through the years,” Uy said.
“We may not have the annual parade this year, let’s not forget to thank God for all the blessings, for the richness of our seas through Señor San Bartolome, and let’s also continue to pray for us to survive from this crisis we are facing,” he added.
The city government said some of its fiesta activities in August will push through in a new format.
Since the outbreak in the country, Catbalogan has confirmed 21 Covid-19 cases, according to the Department of Health.
Meanwhile, Eastern Visayas has confirmed a total of 653 cases, including 610 recoveries and three deaths from Leyte, Biliran, and Samar. (PNA)