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Every 24th of June the feast of St. John the Baptist is celebrated in Catholic communities in the Philippines with water dousing as a typical feature. But it is unique in the quiet village of Bibiclat, Aliaga in the central plains of Nueva Ecija. The village wakes up at break of dawn to a crowd of folks - young and old - walking in the streets with dried banana leaves covering their bodies. They head towards the rice fields to soak the leafy camouflage and their bodies in mud. Popularly known as 'taong putik' the mud-covered people will walk around from house to house asking for candles or money to buy them. These candles will all be donated to the church during the outdoor Holy Mass that starts at around 6 o'clock in the morning whereby devotees gather at the churchyard. Many believed that this ritual started during the World War II when local men were to be executed by the Japanese troops in retaliation for the death of thirteen soldiers. Miraculously these men were saved by the heavy rains that forced everyone including the imperialist army to seek cover inside the church whose patron saint is St. John the Baptist. Since then, locals commemorate the historic event by appropriating how the saint humbled himself in poor clothes - but this time using dried banana leaves which are bountiful and indigenous in the area. The practice has grown into a religious devotion among people who yearly do the 'pagsa-San Juan' specially when their petitions to the saint were granted.

lakandula This photo was shot on film. Taken by lakandula with a Lomography Sprocket Rocket (available in our Online Shop) loaded with Lomography X-Pro Slide 200 ISO (35mm) film in Bibiclat, Aliaga, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. These tags describe this photo: mud, people, ritual, religious, catholic, folk, st. john de baptist, xpro, panoramic, sprockets, banana, and leaves. Date: 2012-06-24. Time: Morning. This photo can also be found in the album Taong Putik Panorama: Ritual Of Mud People For Feast Of Saint John The Baptist.

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