A tradition for the past two centuries

FORBIDDEN. The annual ‘Turogpo Festival’ of Carigara, Leyte will not be staged beginning this year due to mounting concern on animal protection. The festival, which shows carabaos and horses fighting against each other, has been an annual tradition in the town for more than two centuries held every Black Saturday. (PHOTO COURESY)

TACLOBAN CITY – The local government unit of Carigara, Leyte has cancelled the holding of the ‘Turugpo Festival’ which is held every Black Saturday in deference to a law protecting animals.

A memorandum to this effect was signed by municipal administrator Wenceslao Narido Jr.
Narido cited the provisions under Republic Act No 8485 as amended by RA 10631 otherwise known as “The Animal Welfare Act and the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulation, making it unlawful to subject animals to torture and maltreatment except on instances expressly authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.

Under Section 6 of the law, it prohibits the torture of any animal, maltreatment, or neglect, or deprived of adequate care, sustenance or shelter or in use for research or experiments not authorized by the Committee on Animal Welfare.

Violating these provisions will be meted with punishment of imprisonment or fine that ranges from one year to six months and one day to two years and fine not exceeding to P100, 000 if the animal is subject to cruelty or maltreatment or imprisonment of six months to one year or fine of not exceeding to P30, 000 if the animal is subjected to cruelty.

Turugpo Festival is an annual event during Holy Week in Carigara that dates back more than 220 years ago.

This unique festival is derived from the word “tugpo” which means matchmaking or matching opponents.

The festival has three main events, the “pasungay” the fight of two carabaos, the “paaway” the fight between two horses,” and the carambola wherein each of the 49 villages of the municipality is represented in a cockfight, the rooster that will survive will be declared as the winner.

Based on the town’s history, Turugpo was originally held every Good Friday, as defiant of the Carigara people to the order of Friars to observed piety, solemnity, and absolute silence on the day, the Catholic faith observes the death of Jesus Christs.

In 1983 thru the request of the late Palo Archdiocese Bishop Cipriano Urgel, the date was change to Black Saturday in order not to distract the parishioners in their pious observation of Christ’s suffering and death. His request was agreed by the organizers.