Blending Religion with Tradition with SAAD Festival of Leganes

Text and photos by Bombette G. Marin

Leganes, Iloilo will venerate their patron saint Vicente Ferrer through the Saad festival which culminates on January 31st.

Saad was previously celebrated in April to commemorate the saint’s death but it was recently moved to January to remember his birth.

Saad, a Hiligaynon term for “vow,” displays is a celebration defining the presence of God through the intercession of their patron saint in every Leganesnon’s life.

The heart of the celebration is the Saad Festival cultural dance parade and competition scheduled at 4 p.m. on 31st of January this year. It offers a repertory of folk dances and musical expressions originating from the blend of various local traditions. Groups of dancers, actors, singers and instrumentalists delight crowds with theatrical and musical performances.

Week-long events will mark the 16th year religious celebration of the festivity.

January 24 (Friday) Mass at 2 p.m., Opening Salvo Parade at 3 p.m., Launching Program at the Saad Park, and Miaa Leganes Saad Festival Talent’s Night at the Leganes Gym at 8 p.m.; January 25 (Saturday) “Leganesnon Ang Kabataan Aton Tatapon LAKAT Fun Run Activity at 5 a.m.; January 27 (Monday) Little Miss Saad 2020 at 5:30 p.m., Ill Pride at 8:30 p.m., the Duke’s Band at 10:30 p.m.; January 28 (Tuesday) Super Nanay 2020 at 6p.m., Miss Leganes Saad Festival Grand Coronation Night at the Leganes Gym at 8 p.m., Totong Villaruz and his band at 8:30 p.m., Sativa Reggae Band at 11 p.m.

January 29 (Wednesday) Zumba Fest at the Leganes Fiesta Pavillion at 6 p.m., Basta Driver, Sweet Lover Singing Contest at 6:30 p.m., First Edition Band at 9p.m., Soundtrack Trio at 11 p.m.; January 30 (Thursday) Mass at 2 p.m., Sinadsad Parade and Dance Competition at 3 p.m., Ember at 6:30 p.m., Kreonz Band at 9 p.m., DJ Young at 11 p.m.; January 31 (Friday) Mass at 3 p.m., Cultural Dance Parade and Competition at 4 p.m., DJ Mark Tio at 7:30 p.m., Awarding Ceremony at 8:30 p.m., Hastag Jimboy at 9:30 p.m., Rains Band at 10:30 p.m., DJ CJ Tanoy at 12 midnight.

The celebration of Saad plays a very important role in the culture of Leganesnons. It is customary to have the annual festival and engage the community in recreational activities such as parades and services to honor the saint. In addition, there is the devotional aspect like the novenas that lead to its feast day.

The heart of the celebration is the Saad Festival cultural dance parade and competition scheduled at 4 p.m. on 31st of January this year. Saad was previously celebrated in April to commemorate the saint’s death but recently was moved to January to remember his birth.

To see Leganes during Saad Festival is a great privilege, and being able to share this celebration make for a very special trip to the town.

The municipality of Leganes has many other places to see during your visit.

San Vicente Ferrer Parish Church is among the most visited in the province because people would come to pay homage to San Vicente Ferrer and display their acts of faith with hopes that the desires of their hearts might be fulfilled. The façade of the church is an elaborate example of the usual baroque church common in the Philippines. It shares a lot of similarities to the Church of Saint Theresa in Lithuania.

Katunggan Mangrove Protected Area in Barangays Gua-an and Nabitasan, is a 15-hectare man-made mangrove forest. What used to be an abandoned, underutilized and unproductive fishpond is now thickly–covered with mangroves attracting birds, a variety of spawning fish species, mud crabs and other marine wildlife. In March 2011, a bamboo hut was constructed, which serves as reception and rest area for volunteers. The park now has 230 meters of elevated pathway made of wood and mostly bamboo materials. Visitors can now view the entire mangrove forest park from atop a viewing deck.

Sea Garden Resort in Barangay Camangay is an inland resort offering beachfront smoke-free accommodations overlooking the island province of Guimaras. It has various facilities, such as cottages, a restaurant, a bar and a garden. It has an adult pool and two   children’s pool with one having a playground at the center. The area also provides guests with a children’s playground. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy a continental breakfast.

This Fourth Class town is located along the Guimaras Strait, opposite the town of Buenavista in Guimaras. It is adjacent to the City of Iloilo in the south; bounded by Pavia in the southeast; Sta. Barbara in the west; and Zarraga in the north. It has a total land area of 3, 216 hectares politically subdivided into 18 barangays.

Leganes is populated by 32, 480 (2015 Census on Population) Leganesnons. Market day is every Sunday. It annually celebrates its religious fiesta every 5th of April in honor of St. Vincent Ferrer.

To get to Leganes, one can take a 20-minute jeepney ride from Jaro Plaza. For more information, please contact Municipal Tourism Officer Jerry Anas at 09127721033.