Philippine Festivals: Bulacan’s Obando Fertility Rites

A fertility festival up north.

…It is a known fact that in Obando there is a trinity which grants sons and daughters by choice: Our Lady of Salambau, Saint Claire and Saint Pascual. Thanks to this wise counsel Dona Pia felt a quickening in her womb…ah, like the fisherman alluded to by Shakespeare in Macbeth, who stopped singing when he found a treasure, she became sad and was not seen to smile again. “Caprices of pregnancy,” everybody said, including Capitan Tiago.

Noli Me Tangere, Chapter 6 (“Capitan Tiago”)

The Obando Fertility Rites, which will be concluded today (May 19th), are celebrated every year in honor of Bulacan’s patron saints San Pascual Baylo, Santa Clara, and Our Lady of Salambau.

Happening every year from May 17 to 19, this festival is attended by childless couples praying for a child and maidens/bachelors asking for partners. Farmers also take this opportunity to thank the patron saints for a bountiful harvest.

The Bulacan Government recommends the following places for Obando celebrations:

Marilao, Bulacan: Divine Mercy National Shrine and Marilao Catholic Church

Bulacan, Bulacan: Enriquez Ancestral House

Obando, Bulacan: San Pascual Baylon Church

Bulacan, Bulacan: Marcelo H. del Pilar Shrine