Fluvial parade resumes in Pampanga with fewer devotees
APALIT, Pampanga — The 177th fluvial parade of the image of St. Peter has resumed on a modest start, drawing fewer devotees on Tuesday, June 27.
The couple Paulino and Arlyn de Leon, who have been coming to the feast for the last 44 years, observed that fewer people streamed to a private chapel in Barangay Capalangan here from 7 a.m. to 12 noon when the image was fetched by hundreds of men belonging to the Knights of St. Peter.
“Pre-pandemic, the place was filled with people. Now, you see vacant spaces,” Arlyn said, adding that people may still be wary of the virus causing COVID-19.
But Fausto “Esting” Alfonso, who at 79 is the eldest knight, said he was happy that the tradition has resumed. A devotee of Apung Iru — his term of endearment for the saint — for 67 years now, Alfonso said the suspension of the tradition since March 2020 made him sad and unable to demonstrate more his Catholic faith.
“Apu brings us closer to God,” he said. Alfonso said most of the more than 2,000 knights came out to carry and accompany the saint to the river.
The procession by foot stretched only less than two kilometers from Capalangan to the port in the boundary of Barangay Gatbuca in Calumpit, Bulacan. Devotees showered the faithful with water, candies, eggs, and biscuits.
By estimates of several spectators, about 20 large barges and more than 100 motorized bancas joined the “libad,” the term for the fluvial parade.
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