For couples longing to have children after exhausting all possible means, the dates May 17 to 19 have a special meaning. They’re the dates of the Obando Festival, an annual celebration in honor of the three saints of the municipality of Obando, Bulacan—St. Paschal Baylon, St. Clare of Assisi, and Our Lady of Salambao.
All roads lead to the Parish of San Pascual Baylon and Diocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora Immaculada Concepcion de Salambao, where a Mass is held before the highlight of the festival—the fertility dance.
Images of the three saints lead the colorful parade, followed by a marching band. But all eyes are on the couples dancing along the procession. Moving from side to side in steps akin to the waltz and with graceful arm movements to match, the couples are swept up in the spirited occasion. But they’re also silently praying for their intentions to be blessed with a baby.
How effective is the Obando Festival fertility dance? Believers and devotees say they owe it all to faith and trust. Here are three mothers’ stories of hope and miracles:
“We stayed near the float of Santa Clara and I whispered my prayers,” said Marie Marimla in a story by the Tribune. Diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome, she joined the Obando Festival in 2016 with her husband Angelo after they went through three failed intrauterine inseminations and suffered an ectopic pregnancy.
In 2018, the couple found out they were pregnant; today, they are the proud parents of a baby girl.
“As always, when you don’t know the answer, you turn to God,” said Celeste B. Soriano, also to the Tribune. Like Marie, she and her husband Marlon turned to medical intervention to conceive, to no avail.
A trip to the Obando Festival changed that: Pregnant in 2018, she and her husband are also now the parents of a baby girl.
Maricar de Mesa
“Dasal nalang talaga ‘yung kulang,” said actress Maricar de Mesa in “Sayaw ng Pag-asa,” a documentary on the Obando Festival by the GMA News show I-Witness.
Various medical procedures to help her conceive failed, leading the actress to visit Obando and leave it all up to the Heavens.
In July 2017, she gave birth to a baby girl, Alianna Sky. “Sobrang perfect timing,” she told smartparenting.com. “God’s timing is perfect talaga.”