After two years of missing this annual Candelaria event, we were finally able to witness this Quezon town’s Candle Festival. This recently established religion-grounded fest focuses mainly on the devotion to the Nuestra Señora de Candelaria which usually runs from the last day of January to February 2. This designated high day of the festival (in anticipation of the feast of Saint Blaise on February 3) is highlighted by the street parade, dance competition and the usual street stalls containing different wares for sale that lined the wide patio grounds of the San Pedro Bautista church on the town proper.
The grand parade for this year was held in the afternoon but the main event, the dance competition started early in the evening. Certain awards were given out first to notable citizens and groups of the town. Afterwards the contest started with the hundreds of eager audience obviously looking towards the presentations.
The eleven presenters of the night were:
- Masin Elementary School
- Manuel Luis Quezon Elementary School
- Malabanban Norte Elementary School (and?) Alumni
- a group from the parish
- Kiwanis Club of Candelaria
- Couples for Christ
- Candelatia West District(?)
- Tayabas Western Academy
- Manuel Macasaet National High School
- Manuel S. Enverga University Foundation Candelaria, Inc.
- Lady Mediatrix Institute
For a first timer it seemed to me that the last presentation proved to be a highlight presentation with its elaborate costumes and props that really wowed the crowd towards the end of the program.
The Festival did not end on that night for the town was also looking to celebrate the town fiesta on the 5th of February, dedicated to San Pedro Bautista to whom the parish church was named.
What to look for in next year’s Candle Festival?
Most likely cover the entirety of the grand parade and hunt for local delicacies that possibly get the attention during these festive times.