Parada Ng Lechon
Although geographically small, the Philippines has probably the most number of fiesta (more than 42,000 festivals) and deriving to a point that this country could be one of the happiest country in the world.
Theoretically, a foreign tourist can visit the Philippines spending only their airline and accommodation and not worry about food expenses if they are going to attend all the Fiestas in the country.
It’s funny to think that with all the problems that the country faces today, these fiestas somewhat decreases it. The fact that the Philippines absorbs 20 storms per year that destroys hundreds of houses of the poor Filipinos but they still manage to smile at camera of the media is a sign that “Filipinos are Jolly People” regardless of the circumstances.
Fiestas in the Philippines are held to honor their local Roman Catholic patron saint and to commemorate local history and culture. Festivals like the Kalibo’s Ati-Atihan, Baguio’s Panagbenga, Marinduque’s Moriones, Lucban’s Pahiyas and Bacolod’s MassKara are one of the top events that people go to.
In dismay, I only been to a few of those festivals. A fact that I regret up to this day. A Filipino should enjoy their own country and see all the beauty of it.
Hopefully someday I will…. Luckily, I have my hometown to go to. The place where my ancestors originated (Martinez Family). A small town in Batangas called Balayan.
The Parada ng Lechon in Balayan (the “King of all Batangas festivals”) is a celebration held annually on the 24th of June (Feast of St. John the Baptist) where a full roasted pig is dressed, paraded, and doused with water to signify the act of baptism and celebrate St. John’s sainthood.
Some tourist described the Parada ng Lechon as “The Most Hospitable and Unique Fiesta Celebration in the Country” because the fun does not end with the parade of the pigs.
Beer and music lovers attest that the real fun begins after the parade when Balayan town becomes a very big and open beer fest area where people drink enormous amounts of beer and other liquors and listen to dozens of live bands in many streets of the poblacion and even in many barrios.
Every year, me and my family adjust our work and school schedule to be able to attend the Parada ng Lechon. We just don’t get the annual Parada ng Lechon t-shirts, the food and the booze, but every year is a different year for us.
We get to see new guests from different places, relatives that we haven’t seen for a long time, and a week of activities and events before the Parade.
Both local and tourist alike find ways to get to Balayan to celebrate dubbed as “The Ultimate Fiesta Experience”. Some choose to stay behind a day or two and still continue to wet people with water to prolong their enjoyment. This happens once a year, might as well extend it right…. are the reasons of the vacationers in Balayan.
Fiestas were encouraged by the Spanish to coincide with Christian holy days, early festivals became vital instruments in spreading Christianity throughout the country.
But today, Fiestas are much more than that. It’s about the people. Their generosity and hospitality. Their warmness of receiving guests even if they are total strangers.
It’s like Everyday is a Happy Day to Every Filipino.
If you feel that I am overreacting and dressing this up a notch, come and join the Parada ng Lechon 2019…. and let the Lechon, the splashing of the water do the talking for you!!!