Back in Batangas, The Cathedral of St. Sebastian is known simply as “Katedral.” It stands tall right in the heart of Lipa City, among its bustling streets, young and bright students, great-looking women, and its courteous and hospitable elders. Owing to its accessibility, the church itself is rarely empty, even when there isn’t mass. During Sundays, the Holy Celebration is held almost every other hour, Katedral is filled to its brims, and Batangueño’s brave the heat inside this centuries-old testament to the Christian faith.
The feast of St. Sebastian is held at the 20th of January every year. In Lipa, it is usually a weeklong event with put-up shops lining the streets of the city, culminating in a concert or a big gathering of showbiz personalities towards the end. I remember these images of the fiesta vividly when I was young : dozens of white robed Catholic priests lined up inside Katedral for the Concelebrated Mass; a dozen recipe variation of pork served in a dozen homes of my High School classmates; and dozens of colorful pushcart shops offering a wide variety of products from finger foods to “bunutans” (you buy a piece of paper, wet it with water to reveal a hidden number, and hopefully it will correspond to a toy on display which you could win, the most expensive of which is a Nintendo Gameboy.) In my young mind, I knew there wasn’t a number there for that Gameboy, seeing the exact same gaming unit every year, but for the fun of it, “bumubunot pa rin ako.” I’ve not been to any other fiesta yet outside of Batangas, pero isa lang ang masasabi ko: Bumabaha ng pagkain dito sa Lipa kapag pista, kaya punta kayo dito.
There are two other churches in Lipa you might be interested to see: Redemptorist and the Carmel church. Both are equally captivating as San Sebastian. I hope to do a feature on them as well so watch out for that.
May mga taga-Batangas ga dito sa PTB? =)
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