People celebrate beauty, that’s what we grew up to. But in a quaint town in Pampanga, the opposite of beauty is reveled and recognized. It is celebrated to give joy and laughter to a once drought-infected Minalin, Pampanga.
Aguman Sanduk Festival, now on its 82nd year, is a tradition by the locals of Minalin in every turn of a new year. Stories has it that two brave men paraded in the streets of the province with women’s clothes on just to cheer and provide laughter to their wives and women in particular. It was a time where people needed laughter the most, for in that year they suffered the worst drought Minalin has experienced.
From a two men tandem dancing on the streets of Minalin, the tradition has now evolved into a much anticipated festival. The local men continue to put a smile on women’s faces by dressing up in beautiful gowns and putting on make-up just like a beauty queen. Most men go as far as putting on tiaras and dancing fabulously on intricately designed parade floats.
The crowning of the festival queen is the highlight of the event. Even with no written rules, the crown is traditionally given to the ugliest cross dresser in the event. The queen elicited the most laughs from the crowd and thus, a deserving queen for the Aguman Sanduk Festival.
Aguman Sanduk literally means “the fellowship of the ladle”, the ladle being a symbol of bountiful food and finally conquering the drought and ushering in a new year full of blessings and harvests for the town of Minalin.
Aguman Sanduk Festival is celebrated on the first day of January.
To get to Minalin, Pampanga:
There are regular bus rides to San Fernando or Apalit,Pampanga.
Once in the terminal, take jeepney to Minalin.