Turns out they were practicing for the Sto. Nino Festival in Bobon. To accompany the drummers were dancers, who also practiced for months to get down the correct choreography and perfect their timing. All their practice payed off when it came time to perform.
Unfortunately, the day of the parade it rained like mad. I think it was the only day in the Philippines that I was cold, wet and tired. I loved every minute of it. Before the parade started, the troops were gathered near the church and waited for mass to finish so they could start. During the parade, the drummers pushed their drums on little wheels, and the dancers performed to the beat. After the parade the groups gathered in front of the church and had a dance competition. It was impressive to see the Filipinos working hard together. I've been to several dance competitions here. Mostly, they are hip-hop dance competitions. Always fun to watch. There were also lots of food vendors, and house parties around town. So we had a full day of listening to drums, eating food and shivering.
This particular Sto. Nino, to the best of my understanding was the celebration of the black Jesus. So everybody was painting themselves black. Later in the year, they celebrate the white Jesus, and paint themselves white. I'll keep you posted on that one as time unfolds.