“Pintados de Pasi” Festival is one of the “destination-festivals” of the Department of Tourism (DOT) every March. It is the climax of the Passi City’s Foundation Week Activities. Passi City is one of the component cities of Iloilo Province in Western Visayas and this year is their 13th Foundation Anniversary and the theme is “Kulturang Passinhon: Amligan Para sa Katawhayan kag Kauswagan (Protect the Passinhon Culture for Peace and Progress).
The Pintados de Pasi Festival is a vibrant celebration with human painted figures and street dancing. Each tribe that participates tells Passi’s pre-Spanish history from battles, epics and folk religion. The “tribus” display the rich cultural heritage of the city, exprssed through tribal music and ethnic dances.
The most highlight of the Pintados festival is the tribal dance competition where the streets of the city is filled with body-painted participants in colorful costumes. The pre-hispanic time of Passi is relived with warriors in fullm regalia - each defining a particular tribe or “tribu”.
Body tattooing has a long history in the Philippines. For centuries, tattoos had adorned the bodies of aboriginal groups. Majority of what we know today about this ancient art has been passed down through legends, songs, rituals and ceremonies.
Spaniards came to this central Panay Island and found in the area heavily tattooed men and women, whom they called Pintados.
If you have plans of visiting Panay Island next year, make it in the month of March. A short trip to Passi City to witness the “Pintados de Pasi” is worth the detour.
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