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Celebrating Culture: The Legacy of Lumban, Laguna, and the Captivating Burdang Lumban Festival 2023

22nd Burdang Lumban Festival 2023

About Lumban, Laguna

Lumban, a picturesque town located in Laguna, lies approximately a three-hour drive away from Manila. It is an idyllic destination, offering a serene escape from the urban commotion. Notably, boasts the distinction of being the proud home to one of the Philippines’ most renowned man-made lakes, Caliraya Lake. This scenic locale has gained fame as a haven for relaxation and various leisure activities nestled amidst the beauty of nature. However, there’s more to its story than meets the eye – it is also known as the “Embroidery Capital of the Philippines”.

Image Source: https://tinyurl.com/bdn7mvvb

Lumban, Laguna is famous for its exceptional and finest hand embroidery in the Philippines. This enduring craft, handed down through the ages, has transformed this town into a gathering place for skilled artisans and a magnet for those in pursuit of finely crafted hand-embroidered pieces. It is even the go-to place for some politicians looking for their Barong and Filipiniana attire.

History of Hand Embroidery in Lumban, Laguna

For ages, the enchanting craft of hand embroidery in Lumban has captured the fascination of both locals and tourists, establishing itself as an integral part of the region’s identity. Originating during the Spanish colonial era, the introduction of Spanish embroidery techniques marked the beginnings of this rich tradition.

In 1606, the Franciscan missionary nuns imparted the art of hand embroidery to the women of Lumban. It was embraced eagerly by the Lumbeños, and the art thrived as a pastime during their leisure hours, eventually evolving over successive generations to shape the local industry, initiating a legacy that has persisted through the years. 

Innovation and Exclusivity of Lumban’s Hand Embroidery Through the Years

This distinctive needlework has evolved into the thriving industry that defines Lumban today. Over time, a profound fondness for this intricate artistry took root within the community, leading to the development of various refined techniques. As with any skill related to textiles and fabrics, the painstaking and labor-intensive process demands meticulous planning to achieve the desired results. The adept craftsmanship, honed over decades, transforms each barong into a masterpiece, reflecting the deep-seated dedication of the artisans. Furthermore, the use of premium piña fiber or abaca-cotton fabric adds an extra layer of exclusivity to every piece, showcasing Lumban’s enduring passion for the craft.

Despite the advancements brought about by numerous Industrial Revolutions and the emergence of automated embroidery machines, the artistry of a seasoned hand embroiderer remains unparalleled. The signature Lumban approach to designing barongs, known as the Calado, involves delicately extracting fibers to create intricate patterns. By employing a range of open-thread work techniques, the artisans bring the distinctive and sophisticated Calado design to life.

Some of the must-try Embroidery Shops in Lumban, Laguna

Lumban exemplifies both beauty and culture, serving as a tribute to the artistic essence of the Filipino people. So, if you are planning to travel, let me share with you why you should visit the lovely town of Lumban.

Tourist Spots in Lumban, Laguna

  • San Sebastian Parish Church

The construction of this church was completed in the year 1600, marking it as the very first stone church in Laguna. This historical church is a remarkable architectural masterpiece that showcases intricate Baroque design. It is not only a place of worship but also a testament to its rich cultural heritage

  • Lumban Marker

A very significant landmark since it is known as the biggest marker in the Philippines, each letter stands at a height of 20 feet.

  • Caliraya Lake

Nestled amid scenic surroundings, Caliraya Lake offers a serene retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. If you love sunsets and Tagaytay-like weather, this destination should be on your travel list.

Famous Dining and Staycation Options in Lumban, Laguna

Janna’s Place is a resto-bar that boasts a welcoming dining experience, which also offers KTV. This is also famous for its artificial roses inspired by the 10,000 roses in Cebu.

The perfect location for team buildings. You can enjoy a range of recreational activities, including water sports and relaxation in a beautiful natural setting.

Mr. Goto is a popular eatery known for its delicious and hearty comfort food, particularly its signature dish, Goto, and their bestseller, Ribsilog!

Known for its delicious and authentic take on the classic halo-halo located just beside Mr. Goto. Elvira’s Halo-Halo is often praised for its generous servings, ensuring a delightful and refreshing dessert experience for its customers. 

This café offers a cozy ambiance for coffee lovers and if you are hanging out with friends, this is really an excellent choice!

Prjct Beanery Cafe - Lumban, Laguna
Image Source: BR1NE Photography 

A dining and events place known for its diverse menu and intimate atmosphere, ideal for couples planning to have a romantic dinner or looking for a wedding reception. They also have a newly opened café to cap off your dining experience. 

This restaurant serves a wide range of Filipino cuisine while enjoying the fresh, crisp air and taking in the breathtaking view of Caliraya. Perfect place to eat with your family.

A tranquil bed and breakfast resort, offering a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of Manila.  Its name is derived from the combination of “Bali” and “Caliraya,” reflecting its calming Bali-like ambiance where guests can also enjoy kayaking and fishing. Truly an ideal environment to relax, unwind, and reconnect with nature.

This is a small coffee shop “tambayan” offering a unique blend of delightful brews and light snacks. Its location is perfect for passersby, making it an inviting spot for a quick caffeine fix or a leisurely chat with friends. 

Festivities in Lumban, Laguna

  • Lumban Town Fiesta (January 20)

A significant celebration to honor Lumban’s Patron Saint, Saint Sebastian. What makes this town fiesta truly special is the heartwarming tradition of every neighborhood to prepare a variety of dishes and the warm invitation extended to everyone. This tradition beautifully exemplifies the exceptional hospitality of the Lumbeños, creating a genuine sense of community and togetherness during the celebration.

  • Paligong Poon sa Lupi ng Kapistahan ni San Sebastian Martir (last Sunday of January)

Recognized as the Grand Winner for the Best Tourism Event in the Religious Festival – Municipal category at the 2023 Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) Pearl Awards.

Trivia about this event: Our original Patron Saint was Saint Francis of Assisi. However, legend has it that a statue of Saint Sebastian washed ashore and was found on Lumban’s riverbanks. Its origin was traced back to Pagsanjan, its neighboring town. Although the statue was briefly returned to Pagsanjan, the statue miraculously reappeared in Lumban, leading to the town’s enduring devotion and the decision to embrace Saint Sebastian as its Patron Saint.

Hence, during Lupi, a fluvial parade takes place across the Lumban River, with devotees aboard elaborately adorned boats with the statue of Saint Sebastian.

Followed by a procession, where Saint Sebastian and the devotees are continuously poured with water. While residents staying at home join in the fun by playfully splashing water on passersby. Not even passing vehicles are spared from this celebration!

So, if you visit during the Lupi, prepare to get wet and embrace the spirit of this unique celebration. Viva San Sebastian!

  • Burdang Lumban Festival (3rd Week of September)

Burdang Lumban Festival is the heartbeat of Lumban, Laguna. It’s a time when the town comes alive with colors, music, and the spirit of festivity as streets burst into life. This event serves as a platform to showcase its proudly made crafts and the industry of hand embroidery, known as “burda” in Tagalog.

In fact, Burdang Lumban Festival 2022 was also awarded by the 2023 Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) Pearl Awards as the Grand Winner for the Best Tourism Event in the Cultural Festival – Municipal category.

Distinguished figures, fashion designers, and those in the know make a special spotlight on this event, with their renowned offerings of Barong Tagalog, Filipiniana Dresses, and exquisite embroideries. Its aspirations are clear: it aims to solidify its reputation as the unrivaled Embroidery Capital of the Philippines.

Highlights during the 22nd Burdang Lumban Festival 

In the celebration of the 22nd Burdang Lumban Festival with the theme “Tara na sa BURDAgulang saya sa Burdang Lumban!”, held from September 20-23, 2023, the Municipality of Lumban delighted its people, with a series of exciting programs:

  1. Street Dancing Competition

One of the festival’s most awaited programs was the captivating Street Dancing Competition with the theme “Paseo at Pasayaw sa Kalye”.  It involved organized groups of dancers who moved to the beat of traditional or contemporary music while wearing elaborate and vibrant costumes and this year,  different barangays and elementary students from different schools in Lumban competed. Street dancers performed in parades, and their routines incorporated elements of local culture, history, and folklore.

Street dancing allows communities to celebrate their cultural heritage, share their stories, and engage with spectators in a lively and visually captivating manner. It was a way to preserve and promote the country’s diverse and rich traditions through the art of dance.

  1. Timpalak Galing sa Pagbuburda

The “Timpalak Galing sa Pagbuburda” participants skillfully demonstrated their exceptional talents and mastery of the art of needlework. This competition embodied their remarkable skills to celebrate the artistry of Lumbeños.

  1. Burdoll Designing Competition
Burdoll Designing Competition - Lumban, Laguna
Image Source: Department of Tourism – Philippines’ Facebook Page 

From the words “Burda” and “Doll”, this competition involved participants creating their own unique and intricate Filipino traditional dresses, known as “Filipiniana,” but in miniature form, specifically designed to fit Barbie dolls. This event was a delightful showcase of the creativity and craftsmanship of Lumbeños. It was a fun and engaging activity that encouraged participants to draw upon their design skills, sewing talents, and appreciation for Filipino culture.

  1. Painting Competition

There was also a painting competition that revolved around the artistic interpretation of Lumban, Laguna. Each participant created visual representations that captured the essence and unique qualities of Lumban, Laguna.

  1. Trade Fair Exhibit Competition

As part of the festival, participants in the Trade Fair Exhibit Competition set up exhibits or booths to showcase various products related to agriculture, trade, and the local industry of Lumban. These exhibits were designed to attract visitors and display products or services that they offer. It also added colors and highlights to the festival’s decorations.

  1. Fashion Designers’ Competition
 Burdang Lumban Fashion Designers Competition - Lumban, Laguna
Image Source: JJP IDANG Photography

This competition was a vibrant celebration of the community’s artistry and boundless creativity. This program placed a special emphasis on traditional Filipino attire, requiring participants to craft clothing designs that adhere to the elegant “Filipiniana” style, complemented by the iconic Barong Tagalog. While hand embroidery takes center stage in the clothing designs, participants were still encouraged to explore their artistic expression through diverse techniques such as painting, coloring, and dyeing. This event not only fostered a sense of cultural pride but also showcased the remarkable talent of the Lumbeños.

  1. Flores de Setyembre 2023
Flores de Setyembre 2023 - Lumban, Laguna
Image Source: JJP IDANG Photography

This was a grand procession featuring stunning Filipiniana Gowns and Barong Tagalog outfits crafted by renowned Lumbeño designers who flaunted their entries for the Burdang Lumban Fashion Designers Competition.

  1. Mardi Gay Queen 2023
Mardi Gay Queen 2023 - Lumban, Laguna
Image Source: JJP IDANG Photography

A festive and colorful competition participated by the LGBTQ+ community,  where they paraded through the streets of Lumban, and flaunted extravagant, elaborate costumes with ornate headgear.

  1. People’s Night
People's Night - Lumban, Laguna
Image Source: JJP IDANG Photography

LILY Music, formerly known as Callalily, also performed in Lumban to serenade the Lumbeños during the People’s Night, a special event by Governor Ramil Hernandez. 

  1. Color Run

Lumbeños enjoyed the fun run as they were doused with brightly colored powders, that created vibrant, temporary splashes of color on their clothes and bodies. This was the Municipality of Lumban’s way of promoting a fun, active, and healthy lifestyle in a lively and enjoyable manner while fostering a sense of togetherness and celebration within the community.

  1. Ginoo at Binibining Lumban 2023 
Ginoo at Binibining Lumban 2023 - Lumban, Laguna
Image Source: JJP IDANG Photography

Last but not the least, the most anticipated event:  Ginoo at Binibining Lumban 2023.

Everyone was really excited about this as they enthusiastically supported their bets wherein each barangay had its own representatives.

Like in many other pageants, Ginoo at Binibining Lumban is a competition that showcases the looks, poise, intelligence, and talent of contestants from the local community. It included various segments, such as an Evening Gown Competition sponsored by Mr. Louis Pangilinan, and Barong Tagalog sponsored by Mr. Frederick Berches. And of course, to assess the contestants’ overall qualities and abilities, there was a set of judges, and one of them was Ms. Nicole Borromeo, the recently crowned Bb. Pilipinas International 2022. This event served as a platform to promote local talent, celebrate the culture, and build a sense of community pride.

And as the 22nd Burdang Lumban Festival officially ended, a spectacular fireworks display lit up the night sky. 

To sum it up, this year’s festival was indeed a remarkable and unforgettable experience. It showcased the rich tapestry of culture, creativity, and community spirit that makes this event so special. From the vibrant parades and colorful performances to the heartwarming traditions, it was a celebration that brought people together and left lasting memories. As we bid farewell to this year’s festivities, we can’t help but look forward to the promise of the next edition.

The Burdang Lumban Festival 2023 has once again proven that it was not just an event but a celebration of life, a testament to the enduring power of tradition, and a reminder of the beauty that arises when people come together in joy and harmony. Until next time, may the spirit of this event continue to inspire and uplift us all!

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