San Juan Town Fiesta

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Procession in honor of St. John the Baptist

San Juan Town Fiesta is the feast of St. John the Baptist, patron saint of San Juan City, and of many other communities throughout the Philippines, held every 24th of June.



The traditional "Basaan"

Filipinos appropriately commemorate the birth of St. John (other than the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist is the only saint whose birth is celebrated in the Christian liturgy; feasts of other saints are celebrated on the day of their death), who cleansed and prepared the people for the coming of Jesus Christ by baptizing them with water.

Matthew 3:11 quotes Saint John as saying: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire."

San juan festivity.jpg

Children and grown-ups alike line up the streets and generously douse passersby or unsuspecting commuters and visitors with water, with the traditional “basaan” or "buhusan" (dousing of water)- supposedly to remind them of their baptism. They also enjoy engaging in water wars and other wet games using dippers, pails, hoses and even water pistols. Older persons my fill their ancient coconut shells with perfumed water to sprinkle on passersby. In rural areas, people take a swim at the beach, in a nearby river, or at a local spring, believing that a little exposure to water today, even just a sprinkle or splash, will bring God's blessings. This popular custom is practiced as they recall San Juan's life and mission. That is why in some places, passing buses, cars, and jeeps become the targets of water splashed and thrown about with reckless gusto.

Unfortunately, the tradition is being threatened by killjoys or local bullies who douse car owners or jeepney riders wuth water from open ditches. Their actions have made others question the very idea of the festivity.

Filipinos from different parts of the country celebrate this feast in various ways. Four of the most popular celebrations can be witnessed in Balayan, Batangas, Calumpit, Bulacan, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija and in San Juan City, Metro Manila.


  • Seasite. (accessed on May 05, 2008).
  • Sunstar. (accessed on May 05, 2008).

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