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Bankero Festival, Pagsanjan

The Pagsanjan Bangkero Festival features exciting events both on water and land such as the “palarong bangkero” (fluvial parade and exhibitions), street dancing, drum and lyre band competition, chorale fest, cultural night, trade fair, sports events among others.

Pagsanjan celebrates the Bangkero Festival annually in the first week of March to welcome the start of summer.  The kind of bangkeros the festival pays tribute to are the excellent boatmen who shoot the famous Pagsanjan rapids.

Bangkero is a Tagalog term given to those boatmen of the river and who normally use a bangka.

Pagsanjan is a delta that separates the waters from the rapids into the Bumbungan and Balanac rivers which then empty out into Laguna de Bay. Thus the name Pagsanjan is most fitting for the falls —“pinagsanghan” meaning, “branching.”  The rapids flow into one river, which branches out into two rivers to facilitate travel and trade.

The people living aroung these rivers, the Pagsanjeños, have produce excellent swimmers, boatmen and boat builders for hundreds of years.

Magdapio is the town nearest to Calvinti where the rapids end.  The rapids, however, begin in Pagsanjan and so was named.  The route of the rapids take follows Pagsanjan through a part of Lumban and then on to Calvinti

The Pagsanjan Bangkero Festival is inspired by and dedicated to all the bangkeros (boatmen) in Pagsanjan. These bangkeros show impressive skill and dexterity in maneuvering his boat upstream “against wild rapids and amidst a pristine panorama of lush, virgin forest.”

Other competitions during the Bangkero Festival usually includes bunong braso, palo sebo, swimming, street dancing, land floats, river floats and of course, a beauty pageant.

Source: Bangkero Festival / Pagsanjan Falls

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