Colorful props and dancers clad in equally colorful costumes would fill the San Remigio town every 16th of May for the Lapyahan Festival, one of the most awaited activities in relation to the annual fiesta.
The whole town would practically burst with energy as participants from various elementary and high schools converge to celebrate the fiesta in honor of San Juan Nepumoceno.
A long stretch of white sand beach in San Remigio, the longest in the whole Cebu province, is highlighted in this annual festival. The name of the festival itself, “Lapyahan,” is the Cebuano word for seashore or shoreline.
Dance steps in the festival show things related to the sea: balud which means waves, kinhas which means gleaning for seashells during low tide, ligo or langoy which is swimming, hoyohoy which refers to sea breeze, and pasalamat which is to give thanksgiving to heavens for the bounty of the sea.
The sea is so much a part of the lives of San Remigio residents, many of whom earn their living from fishing.
Its beaches and resorts have also propelled the popularity of the town, which was included in the Department of Tourism’s list of most visited municipalities in Central Visayas.
Each year, contingents portray in their dance a storyline that projects the different favors that their patron saint, San Juan Nepomuceno, have granted – whether these be through happy tidbits from history, through bountiful harvest, or other fruits of their labor.
The merrymaking would start with the street dancing which is capped with the final showdown of contestants, with the official Lapyahan Festival jingle as the background music.
An image of the San Juan Nepomuceno is paraded along with the dancing contingents, mounted on andas or caro.
The dancers vie not only for the cash prizes each year but for the pride and honor of being named as best in ritual or showdown, best in costume, best in street dancing, best in choreography. Judges will also pick the best festival queen.