In the Pangasinan dialect, galicayo means “come here” while manaoag means “to call.” Both words were derived from stories on the Virgin Mary’s apparition in Manaoag where she called on the people to come and build a church.
The apparitions and subsequent miraculous events, which occurred in the late 1500s, inspired the Dominicans to build the church of Our Lady of Manaoag in 1913.
Since then, the town was named “Manaoag” as pilgrims from all over the country and even abroad visit the place for prayer and thanksgiving.
Thus, the weeklong Galicayo Festival, which began last Sunday, is a unique celebration of faith, culture and the arts in honor of Our Lady of Manaoag.
Galicayo Festival has known as Pangasinan’s answer to other folk-religious fiestas in other parts of the country, with a host of interesting activities celebrating the province’s culture and traditions.
Fittingly, it also serves to usher in the Yuletide season as highlighted by the simultaneous lighting of the provincial Christmas tree and other displays.
Other highlights include street-dancing competitions, praise fests by different religious groups, a festival of Pangasinan cuisine, lantern parades, street rave parties, and the Bayanihan Dancers’ Handog Sayaw kay Inay Maria.