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Monday, December 19, 2011

On Assignment for Travel Time Magazine: La Inmaculada Concepcion de Malabon



I went to Malabon a few weeks ago to cover the La Imaculada Concepcion de Malabon fluvial parade, which also serves as a thanksgiving feast for the city's fishermen, in behalf of the popular "Travel Time Magazine" of Susan Calo Medina. Though, I have already written four articles on another travel magazine, the "Republic of 7107 Island Travel" this one is different, since it was my first time to go to a place and a festival with the assignment of writing about it. During my previous published articles, I just wrote it and submitted it as a contribution article and was fortunate that the publisher liked it, thus its inclusion in the previous issues. 

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This one though, there is pressure involved - so with a notepad courtesy of my friend Mich, we went to Malabon on a very rainy Friday morning. It started with the associate editor of the magazine calling me while I'm at work on Thursday telling me about this assignment, since I still have to get my camera fix, I wasn't able to commit right away and still waited if I could borrow a decent camera from one of my friends.

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Goofy Mich
On a timely grace from the heavens amid the weeping sky, my friend Dazzle was able to said yes (along with a threat of bodily harm If I do not take care of her Nikon D90) and I was able to confirm for the assignment of covering the fluvial parade. The next day I commuted from our place in Bulacan - before that I emailed my boss informing of my sick leave, and jetted (or rode a bus) to Alabang early morning. Dazzle wants to come with me but since it was a Friday, she has to care for her 2 year old son and couldn't find a nanny right away.

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Another travel blogger friend Mich Borlagdan came on board and accompanied me, so with rain showing no signs of a letdown, we headed straight to Malabon by wading through a flooded street and almost having our jeepney bog down in the middle of a road where the floodwater has reached knee deep level. Good thing, Dazzle wasn't able to come or else she'd find her Toyota Prius car having to transform into a mini-submarine that would make Christopher Lao proud.

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After an hour we finally reached the place of our host. Mr. Monchet Lucas, a member of the family that owns Rufina Patis, greeted us with a friendly smile and quickly showed us around and went on to explain the history of the festival and how it came about to becoming their family's annual responsibility for the community to lead the fluvial parade.  

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While waiting for the parade to start - we visited a nearby ancestral house, the Martinez House where we met a few people from the DOT along with Architect Richard Bautista - a prominent heritage conservation advocate and was the person shown in the popular online viral photograph of a barangay welcome sign in Butuan City. From the old house, we watched from the second floor window, the parade of the members of the Aglipay Church as it passed by. In spite of the rain, the participants danced to the beat and provided an awesome entertainment.

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At around 4 in the afternoon we saw the image of the La Inmaculada Concepcion de Malabon being carried towards the Rufina Patis factory, where a mass was held before the start of the fluvial parade. The town people morphed into a frenzied and euphoric state, as the statue of the Virgin Mary passed by. One could easily feel the unique festive mood is equal to their devotion to their church's patron saint. 

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festive feast nom nom nom nom @the Rufina Patis Factory
The fluvial parade lasted for about two hours wading through the Navotas river passing through the nearby shipyards and fishing community. The residents watched the parade from the windows and outside of their stilt houses. It was great to see amazement in their eyes and even for a short time they seem to forget about their problems. It was my first time to witness a fluvial parade and at night time it was, it made it more amazing. 

Anyway watch out for the actual magazine write up coming in the 2nd quarter of 2012 issue of Travel Time Magazine, which will probably come out in April.

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