SAN JOSE DE BUENAVISTA, Antique – A Halloween party dubbed "bagat" in the municipality of Sibalom in this province is still on hold this year as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The "bagat", a ghost haunting party, gathers teenagers who wear costumes and dance at the town plaza from the night of October 31 until the wee hours of November 1.
Sibalom Municipal Economic Enterprise and Development Officer (MEEDO) Rodel Esler, who supervises the Municipal Tourism Office, said in an interview Friday that the "bagat" has become a tourist draw in the municipality.
However, the Aglipayan Church that initiated the event decided to shelve it in support of the drive to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
An Aglipayan devotee, Yumema Villanueva, said in an interview that they began holding the event in the mid-1980s when a group of young people decided to hold a Halloween party.
“Initially, the youth would walk around by groups in the town proper of Sibalom in their Halloween costumes and scare the spectators but then, later on, it was only held right at the plaza’s basketball court,” Villanueva said.
She said they would come up with their costumes made of cloth and paint their faces and body black to look like a witch.
“The youth really enjoyed it,” Villanueva said, adding that they would even seek sponsorships for prizes for the best costume, which is awarded at the end of their party.
Meanwhile, the Antique Provincial Police Office (APPO) has reminded those who are practicing the customary “trick or treat” for children to limit it within their families.
“Since there is still the coronavirus disease 2019, families should only hold the trick or treat for their children within the confines of their homes,” APPO information officer Rossini Mena said.
They issued the reminder as the annual trick or treat is anticipated by children as part of the observance of All Saints' Day every November 1.
The previous practice is for them to go house-to-house and gather locally-manufactured candies, chocolates, and other food treats.
On the other hand, Mena said based on their assessment, the early observance of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in Antique went peacefully.
“So far, there had been no any untoward incident that had happened related to the early observance of the All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day in Antique,” she said.
An estimated 500 people were monitored at the Sibalom Municipal Cemetery visiting their dead loved ones on October 28, the last day cemeteries were open to the public before the closure starting Friday.
This is also about the same number of people who were monitored in other public cemeteries by the police.
Mena added that the police assistance desks in cemeteries in the 18 towns of the province will remain until November 3 or 4, depending on the directive of the local government units. (PNA)