Pintados Festival: A Celebration of Tattooed Warriors and Cultural Heritage in Leyte
The Pintados Festival is a cultural and religious festival that is celebrated in Tacloban City, Leyte, every June 29. The festival honors the Santo Niño, the patron saint of Leyte, and commemorates the ancient tradition of tattooing among the natives of Visayas. The festival is also known as the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, which means a festival of merriment and friendship.
The festival traces its origins to the 16th century, when the Spanish explorers encountered the tattooed warriors of Visayas, whom they called pintados, meaning painted. The tattoos were a sign of social status, bravery, and achievement among the natives. The festival also celebrates the blood compact or sandugo between Datu Sikatuna, a local chieftain, and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a Spanish conquistador, which symbolized peace and friendship between the two cultures.
The festival features various events that showcase the history, diversity, and creativity of Leyte and its people. Some of the highlights are:
• The Festival of Festivals, which is a street dancing competition where different cultural festivals from Leyte and other provinces participate and perform their ethnic dances.
• The Ritual Dance Presentation, which is a re-enactment of the pre-Spanish rituals and practices of the pintados, such as worshiping idols, offering sacrifices, and chanting epics.
• The Miss Bohol Sandugo Beauty Pageant, which is a contest that showcases the beauty and grace of the women of Leyte who represent their respective cultural festivals.
• The Pagrayhak or Pagrayhay Parade, which is a grand parade of floats, bands, civic groups, and government officials that culminates at the Santo Niño Shrine and Heritage Museum.
The Pintados Festival is one of the most anticipated and colorful events in Leyte, where it attracts thousands of tourists and visitors who want to witness and experience the culture and hospitality of Tacloban.