Talabukon Festival - How a Giant Saved the Town [Photos]
Saturday, March 09, 2013Ryan Mach
Every summer, Looc celebrates the town fiesta with Talabukon Festival as one of its main highlights. Usually held during the third week of April, the festival coincides with a week-long celebration that honors St. Joseph, the town's patron saint. The festival is a commemoration of some sort to a local legend about a giant who once saved the inhabitants of the town from the marauding Moros. The unlikely hero defended the town by choking the pirates, thus the town's name "Looc" which literally means "choke."
According to the legend, early villagers of Tablas Island lived in peace and quiet until a notorious group of people called Moros attacked the island, plundering and ransacking towns and villages all over. The locals were at first helpless because they were outnumbered. An alarm would rise up when people living near the shore would notice strangers coming in aboard large bancas (Vintas).
One early morning, the community was seized by fear when they saw a large fleet of Moro vintas entering the bay. They fled to the nearby hills and small caves with their belongings and children in tow. A few audacious villagers rushed to the bay to see what the commotion was about and they were terrified to realize that they were being attacked.
As the villagers ran for their lives towards the forest and the Moros ready to enter the enclosed bay, a genie of gargantuan size appeared out of nowhere and stood with his legs spread across the bay - his right foot planted on the present-day Kawit point and the other one at the present-day Agojo point.
The giant smashed the vessels in pieces, throwing them away and keeping the enemies at bay. Even the poor Moros swimming away to escape weren't spared. The enormous protector stooped down and picked every Moro he could get a hold of and choked them to death.
With enemies completely annihilated, the natives rejoiced. They knew that from that point onward, their village was safe - thanks to their unlikely hero of a giant. As part of their gratitude to their savior, the town held a celebration annually.
But whether the genie interacted with people or was cited again after that eventful day, the legend doesn't tell. The legend doesn't explain either how the giant got its name (Talabukon) and how the townfolks even knew his name. What makes this tale interesting is a remnant of the giant's existence engraved on stones. His footprints are said to be found in Agojo and Kawit.
Talabukon Festival is a rather new annual event in town, with the first celebration held just a few years ago. Today, the festival is generally a street-dancing competition participated by a few barangays. It has become a showdown of dancing skills, artistic choreography and colorful costumes.