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Thursday, March 31, 2016

ANTIPOLO EVENT: Ang Paglikas ng mga Taga-Antipolo Patungong Sitio Colaique

I never heard of this event until this year when I was invited by a good friend . No catchy single word name for the event, instead, a sentence describing what happened way back World War II when the Japanese started bombing Manila and nearby Antipolo thus they call it "Paglikas ng mga Taga-Antipolo Patungong Sitio Colaique".

This is both a religious and historical reenactment of what happened that day when the people of Antipolo took refuge at the hillside of Sitio Colaique now known as Sitio Loreland because it was less exposed topography. They carried with them "Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage" thus the religious aspect to the event. This year marks its 71st anniversary.

Ang Paglikas ng mga taga Antipolo Patungong Sitio Colaique
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I think the main reason why many of us haven't heard of Paglikas is because it is one that is low-profile. They have kept the event simple, as simple as mimicking the exodus that happened that day in World War II. More importantly, the successfully resisted commercializing the event and therefore keeping its identity. Keeping it simple and real.


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I have nothing against big festivals that are highly commercialized. The commercialization is also key to promoting the event so as to entice more people to engage and participate in them but they often become victims of their own success thereby losing the essence of the event. I admire the people , the government and the church of Antipolo for sustaining this event without the need for big sponsors. You have locals who are zealous of their devotion to Mama Mary who they thank for saving many people during wartime mass exodus and the small and medium businesses who support the event by giving free snacks, food or medical assistance to participants without asking anything in return. "Ang Paglikas ng mga taga Antipolo Patungong Sitio Colaique" is sustained by Antipolo people's authentic support to the event.

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Via Campatipolo Adventureland, a section of Loreland Farm Resort, my friends and I arrived just in time to witness the main group of people going down the cliff. They carry with them "Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage" in a very similar manner to those of processions During Holy Week.

I saw students, mothers, elderly, professionals, people from the church including nuns, ordinary folks eagerly participating in the mass that ensued officiated by Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes. of the Archdiocese of Antipolo. This scene reminds me of scenes of Jesus Christ teaching his disciples under the tree. It's 2016 and to experience mass in this kind of setup is a rarity . The Bishop of Antipolo City sharing the words of God to his herd, an intimate gathering of a community.

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After the mass was a short program where members of the community share their talents to entertain the group. By this time some of the participants already already started to find their way back downtown with mostly the young ones left behind. In my case and my friends, we tried some rice cakes being sold in the venue like palitaw ang maja de blanca. At this point, since I grew up in the countryside, the mood felt like a fiesta in a remote barangay. It felt festive despite the absence of loud music. Kudos to the people of Antipolo for celebrating this event yearly and keeping it as authentic as it is.

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Mr James Silangdor, a respected photographer from Rizal Province also covered the event 
and had really nice photos he shared on his Facebook account.
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Ang Paglikas ng mga taga Antipolo Patungong Sitio Colaique is a simple religious con historical event but authentic. It is an " event of the people", they own it and and support it and keep it going for years away from the shadows of commercialization. It was a very different experience for me and my friends who were there. This kind of outdoor mass under the shade of trees, the serene environment around, the sincerity of people who join the event, plus thanks to very good weather that day, I felt like being transported in the days when things were simple and hearing the word of God is as surreal as taking a walk in nature and breathing fresh air.


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