Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Destination:Camarines Norte Part 5-Pabirik Festival and the Paracale Church

Paracale Church
Arriving at Paracale, I saw the one of the three churches that is celebrating its 400th foundation on the day itself. The church in Paracale is named Our Lady of Candles or Our Lady of Candelaria. It was built in 1611 using bamboo and nipa which makes it 400 years just like the University of Santo Tomas before it was reconstructed between 1888 and 1898. I admire old churches for their stone structure which authenticate the period of time it was built.
Church altar

During the old days, Paracale was a mining town. Most of the town’s people lived by mining gold.  Every February 1-2, they are celebrating the Pabirik festival. Pabirik is a local term for method in gold mining. A few blocks from the church, our group composed of Bernard Supetran, PR consultant, Benjamin Layug of Business Mirror, Lito Cinco of Daily Tribune, Kara Santos of Sunday Inquirer and yours truly, went to the public basketball court to witness the Pabirik street dancing competition. We were accompanied by the Provincial Tourism Office people of Camarines Norte, Roufel and Amable.
Pabirik Festival
Mostly participated and represented by the schools of Paracale, they gave active performances that are very creative and very modern as well as very colorful because of the costumes. Each group gives account to the origins of Paracale. According to the legend, the Lady of Candelaria  goes down the Tabernacle and defend the town against the Moro invaders. We also made introductions to the mayor of Paracale during the event. After watching a couple of performances, we left to visit the other two churches.
Pabirik participants


  1. ei.. 400 years na ang Candelaria CHurch, but the devotion to Our lady of Candelaria is even longer. Our Lady of Candelaria, the patron saint of Paracale, defended the said town during the Moro invasions in olden days. It is said that the lady saint would go down the tabernacle to fight the moros herself. It is also believed that she lost one of her fingers during one of those battles... the people of Paracale, attempted to replace her lost finger with a gold one (what with Paracale being a gold mining town) but would fall off each time.thus, the paraclenos believe that Our Lady of Candelaria doesnt want a replacement finger, instead she wants her devotees to remember the protection she offered and continuously offers them.

  2. i heard the tale when i was a kid in the early 50s when our young family lived in paracale, by the sea-river. our house was on stilts just like the rest that stood by the sea-river. there was a time when my barkada and me (we were just 4-5 years old decided to climb the bell tower (on the left side. It was my first time to see a bellfry inhabited by all sizes of bats. and i was amazed by the view from the tower window. my dad worked in the mines until it shut down following a disaster that claimed 56 miners' lives. when it happened, my dad had just got home from the night shift. from backside window that faced the river, i saw boats running aground and fish jumping on mud. the river had gone dry, sucked up by the collapsed networks of tunnels that ran under the town. tales said there are gold boulders the size of cows lying deep under the ground right under the tabernacle of Our Lady of Candelaria. Engineers tested its presence and they confirmed presence of big bulk of gold. but they could not mine it for fear of another disaster.