The Sag-ahan Festival is celebrated annually in Toboso, Negros Occidental every June 13. This is when the town expresses its gratitude for all the blessings and abundance it has received through the years. It is a thanksgiving celebration.
The word "sag-ahan" is derived from the original name of the settlement near the Sag-ahan River that was established a very long time ago.
"Sag-ahan" in the local dialect means to catch fish using the hands. This method of fishing was due to the abundance of fish in the area during the olden times. Nowadays fishermen use traditional methods of fishing such as the hook and line, the drop or drip nets if there are enough men and newer methods such as the kobkob or purse seine when they venture farther out to deeper waters.
The community finds comforting moments when low tide occurs in the evening. The shallow waters allow other family members fish by the beach using gas lamps bolos (machetes) and spears. These simple methods help to add to their daily food requirements when other sophisticated methods fail to bring in a good catch. Often this poor man's method of catching fish goes a little further to supplement family finances for food, clothing and educational needs of their children. The housewife sells whatever her husband caught in order to augment the family income.
The life of a fisherman is not a cheerful one, the extreme heat or cold when out at sea, the sudden storms and the fickleness of the wind. There is also the heartbreaking misfortune of having no catch despite all the risk and hardships.
These are but parts of the harrowing part life of a fisherman. Nevertheless, the fisherman of Toboso , despite his struggle for daily existence has always endeavored to find time for socio-cultural and religious activities by celebrating in their own humble way. The annual feast of thanksgiving and gratefulness to the Lord for all the blessing of abundance that has been received through the years.
For inquiries about the festival you may contact Toboso's Tourism Office at (034) 725-9007.
How to Get There
Toboso is bounded on the southwest by the Municipality of Calatrava, northwest by the City of Sagay, north by the Municipality of Escalante, and east by the Tanon Strait.
From Manila, you can fly to Bacolod (Php2500++, round trip, 45 minutes). From Bacolod-Silay Airport, you can take a shuttle (Php75-100 per head), or hail a cab and asked to be taken to the Bacolod North Bus Terminal.
Toboso can be reached in about 3 hours 15 minutes by public utility vehicles and approximately 2 hours 45 minutes by private car via the coastal highway.