Thursday, December 8, 2011


A version of the island’s fast disappearing folk Christmas musical tradition featuring dancing “pastores” and the Holy Couple being refused a space in several houses before finding a stable will be presented by the Baryo Amigo Cultural Troupe (BACT) on December 17 at 9:00 am at Rizal Plaza in Tagbilaran as part of the Bohol Arts Festival.

Dubbed “Mga Eksena sa Igue-Igue Daygon sa Pagkatawo,” the folk version of the various incidents before and after the birth of Jesus Christ is based on a selection of the oral tradition as practiced every December in Toril, Maribojoc town, and other parts of the island, BACT executive director Cooper Resabal said.

BACT has been cited by Diakonia Philippines October 26, 2011, for its "educational production showcase on Boholanos culture and heritage" which the ecumenical women church workers' organization said "inspired its members to be more patriotic and appreciative of Philippine culture."

“Igue-igue sa Pagkatawo” is also popularly known as “pastores” due most likely to the dancing pastores that is featured in many scenes. It is set in the ancient Roman Empire. Some scenes  have been added in this version for the Bohol Arts Festival, Center for Culture and Art Development (CCAD) Administrator Silveria Marsamolo noted.

Apparently, in the course of the research for the presentation, it was found out that the popular carol, “Ania Kami, ning Gabii sa Among Pagdaygon…” came from the original “Igue-igue.” The rondalla traditionally accompanies the “igue-igue” carolers.

Melyn Borcelas, who is part of the Baryo Amigo Project’s Research Committee on the folk musical tradition in Maribojoc and Antequera, will sing the part of Virgin Mary, while Calixto Reloba will be St. Joseph. Some extras of the international film “Amigo” that was filmed in Maribojoc and other parts of Bohol in 2010 will play the three kings, house owners, Roman soldiers and “pastores.”

Nong Calixto, whose clan has the privilege of being handed down the “Igue-Igue” oral tradition in barangay Toril, Maribojoc, said there were three parts of the music tradition. Carolers sang “Daygon sa Igue-Igue” before December 25, then the “Daygon sa Pagkatawo” on December 25, and the third part “Daygon sa Tulo ka Hari” at the end of December, up to the feast of the Three Kings, which closes the Christmas season.

The hour long Christmas musical was an instructional tool for people to know the story of the nativity, including some of the doctrines of the Church hierarchy regarding the nature of the birth of Christ. The lyrics say, “Gipanamkon nga ulay nga Vergin, gianak didto sa Belen. Putling kahimtang salamin, ang pagkaulay dili mabalhin.”

It describes how Christ was born, which all those commercialized Christmas  celebrations contradict, “Nag-antus sa mga kapobre, gipahigda sa presepre. Ang banig habol gisilbi ang uhot, ug ang dagami.”

The “pastores” carol brings the key message of salvation: “Ang pulong sa anghel sabton ta, kay ang dakong kalipay midangat na, kay natawo tungod kanimo ang manluluwas nga Ginoo.”

Compiled by Procopio Resabal Jr. and Melyn Borcelas, Baryo Amigo Project’s Research Committee, from various sources, mostly hand written in notebooks, but without music notes, the presentation at the Bohol Arts Festival will show the highlights of the “pastores” cultural tradition.

“The Bohol Arts Festival is aimed at unifying vibrant culture and arts expressions of the many talented Boholanos into one festive arena to celebrate Bohol’s rich arts and cultural heritage…” CCAD head Enriqueta Butalid said.

For inquiries regarding the Baryo Amigo Cultural Troupe’s “Daygon sa Pastores” presentation,  call or text 09176426112. Or visit this website:

Cooper Resabal