Town revives bamboo cannons to welcome Christmas, New Year

A participant of the Sinigabong sa Paskwa: A Bamboo Cannon Contest” in the municipality of Leganes prepares to fire their bamboo cannon on Dec. 18, 2022. (Photo courtesy from Leganes Culture Arts History and Tourism FB page)

A municipality in Iloilo is expecting a safer Christmas and New Year celebration after it revived the old tradition of using bamboo cannons as a means of creating noise to celebrate the twin events.

Jerry Anas, tourism officer of the town of Leganes, made the observation after they introduced for the first time the “Sinigabong sa Paskwa: A Bamboo Cannon Contest” as part of their town’s month-long “Sinadya sa Paskwa” event.

“We re-introduced the old tradition not only to encourage it’s use, but also to make it known to the younger generations that there is another way, a safer way, of welcoming Christmas and New Year,” he said in Hiligaynon in an interview on Friday.

He recalled how, during his childhood, using bamboo cannons was his “game” every Christmas since they do not have any pyrotechnics at the time.

“Once the sound of bamboo cannons was heard in one barangay, children from other barangays would hurry up to setup their own bamboo cannons to be able to strike back,” he said.

Anas said 10 of the town’s 18 barangays joined the contest that was held on Dec. 18 at the Leganes Fiesta Pavilion.

Each entry made use of six-foot-long bamboo poles, with kerosene instead of the calcium carbide (karburo) as fuel, that was ignited using a long stick.

“A lot attended the successful event. The children were amazed because they had not experienced it,” he recounted.

He said the Dec. 18 event was just a start and they wanted to do it regularly.

“Hopefully we can divert the attention of children to just use bamboo cannons instead of using pyrotechnics because it is safer. If we revive this tradition, hopefully that will already be their focus,” Anas said.

At present, he said town officials are already optimistic that the tradition will take hold on the young generations as after the bamboo cannon contest, they can already hear the sound of the instrument every night.

“Those who are now enjoying firing the bamboo cannon would surely do it on Christmas and New Year’s eve,” Anas said. (PNA)