CARIGARA, Leyte- Thousands of spectators and tourists trooped to a village of this town on Black Saturday to enjoy an event involving carabaos and horses fighting against each other.The event, dubbed as “turogpo,” a Waray term which means “to meet” has been a common sight among the natives of this town for more than 200 years now.
What started as a form of defiance against the Spanish friars during a Holy Friday, the event has now evolved into a tourist event. And the local government is banking on this annual event now held every Black Saturday, said Mayor George Ong. During this event, carabaos, horses and now even fighting cocks, meet and fight against each owners with the owners of the winning animals getting a prizeAnd this year’s staging of the turogpo saw more than 5,000 people trooping to Barangay Camansi, the site of the event, which is about five kilometers away from the town proper.
The fight or the contest of the carabaos is called the “pasungay” while the fight between the horses is called “paaway.”Aside from the fighting competition of the carabaos and horses there is also cockfighting called “carambola” wherein the spectators can place their bets just like in an ordinary cockfighting events. Needless to say, turogpo is one of the bizarre and fascinating festivals in the Philippines which continuously attract locals and tourists to the town of Carigara.
Meanwhile, the municipal government is hoping that the three- hectares area where the event is being staged would be donated by the family of Energy Sec. Carlos Jericho Petilla and his brother Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla.The lot is originally owned by the Petilla’s great-great grandparents, Telesforo Bodo, who was among the first to organize the turogpo more than 220 years ago.
(RESTITUTO A. CAYUBIT / LIZBETH ANN A. ABELLA)