No ‘basaan’ in San Juan’s Wattah Wattah festival this year to save water – Zamora
MANILA, Philippines — San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora on Friday announced that there would be no traditional “basaan” or water drenching in the 2023 Wattah Wattah Festival in San Juan, to join the conservation of water given the upcoming El Niño season.
The Wattah Wattah Festival is widely known for its unique tradition of residents drenching each other with water to mimic the city’s patron saint and namesake, St. John the Baptist, who was said to have regularly performed baptisms in the Jordan River in the Middle East.
“Ngayon pa lang po ina-announce ko na ang magiging celebrasyon natin ng Wattah Wattah Festival sa June 24, ay isang selebrasyon kung saan ipapakita natin na ang paggamit ng tubig ay ating bibigyan ng kahalagahan,” said Zamora during a press briefing.
(I am announcing that our celebration of the Wattah Wattah Festival on June 24 is a celebration where we will show that we will give importance to water use.)
“Ibig sabihin we will have a celebration that is not connected with water consumption, in short wala tayong magiging basaan na nakasanayan ng mga nakaraang taon,” he added.
(This means that we will have a celebration not connected with water consumption, in short, we will not have a water-drenching party conducted in the past years.)
Instead, the city will celebrate the festival through “Basbasan sa makabagong San Juan,” which, instead of the usual water drenching, the city’s patron saint will be circled around the entire city to bless its residents.
This is the same way San Juan celebrated the festival during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
“I will issue an executive order today… although wala pa naman po tayo sa tinatawag na water crisis, kinakailangan nating paghandaan pa rin ito upang maconserve ang water natin,” said Zamora.
(Although we are not yet in the so-called water crisis, we still need to prepare for it to conserve our water.)
The state weather bureau previously said there is an 80 percent chance that the El Niño phenomenon will begin between June and August of 2023 and last until the first quarter of 2024.