‘Basbasan instead of basaan’: Traditional city-wide water fight still a no-no for the 2021 San Juan fiesta

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora. Photo: Zamora/FB
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora. Photo: Zamora/FB

Best to forego the traditional ‘baptism’ at today’s city-wide celebration of the feast of St. John the Baptist, says San Juan Mayor Ricardo Zamora.

“[D]ahil nasa gitna pa rin po tayo ng pandemya ay isang taimtim na ‘Basbasan Sa Makabagong San Juan’ ang ating isasagawa imbes na ‘Basaan’,” the mayor posted on his official Facebook account. (“Because we are still in the middle of a pandemic, we are going to observe a solemn ‘Basbasan [Blessing] in the Modern San Juan’ instead of ‘basaan’ [water fight]’. )

The mayor also stressed the need to follow current safety protocols to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Around this time in 2020, the mayor acknowledged that the city was “considered the ground zero” for the pandemic, suspending the tradition for the first time.

This year, the city government relaxed restrictions a bit, allowing residents to observe the feast day of their patron saint, provided that health and safety protocols are strictly followed.

Zamora has released guidelines on allowable activities for the fiesta, under Executive Order No. FMZ-084.

Families are allowed to celebrate together, provided that groups are limited to ten persons or less. Drinking is also allowed, though only inside residences. Church and other religious gatherings are limited to 50 percent of total venue capacity.

“The public is also enjoined to observe the feast day by praying and viewing the procession of St. John the Baptist from inside their homes,” Zamora said.




The city government will hold a blessing ceremony for the image of St. John the Baptist to be initiated by the parish priest of St. John the Baptist Church at the Pinaglabanan Church in San Juan, followed by a small float parade in selected routes.


Also read: Mysterious Hispanic-era tunnels underneath San Juan to be opened to the public


“There’s no way we can let the occasion pass without revering and honoring our patron saint despite the pandemic, although a little less colorful and lively as we have to suspend temporarily our traditional ‘basaan’ and street dancing, the essence of St. John’s inspiration to the San Juaneños remains with us,” Zamora said, assuring that the ceremony will strictly adhere to health and safety protocols against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zamora also announced that barangays Barangays Isabelita, St. Joseph, Pasadena, and Maytunas in San Juan are now Covid-19 free, though he also warned against getting complacent in the fight against Covid-19.


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