A popular tale dates to 1944, when Japanese soldiers were about to execute all the men suspected a guerrillas in Bibiclat over the killing of 13 fellow soldiers.
Their relatives went to the church and while praying, it rained hard and the Japanese stopped the firing squad then set the men free. The villages danced in joy and played in the mud, thankful for the saint’s intercession.
In honor of the feast day of St. John the Baptist on June 24th this year, devotees and residents of Barangay Bibiclat in Aliaga, Nueva Ecija celebrated the annual Taong Putik Festival. People go to the nearby rice fields before sunrise and cover themselves with mud and leaves. They slowly made their way through the streets, money or candles from neighbors before going in front of the church to celebrate the first Mass of the day at around 6 a.m.
Residents, covered with dried banana leaves and mud, parading along a road as they participate in a religious ritual known locally as “Taong Putik” (Mud People), while celebrating the Catholic feast day of Saint John the Baptist in the village of Bibiclat, Nueva Ecija, north of Manila, June 24, 2014. According to Saint John the Baptist parish church, hundreds of devotees participated in this year’s feast day, which has been observed in the village since 1945, to seek blessings and bountiful harvests.