After experiencing the first ever EL PASUBAT festival, which stands for: Empanada, Embutido, Longganisa, PAnotcha,SUman, BArong Tagalog, BAlisong, Tapa, Tamalis, Tulingan, Tawilis festival (whew!) last April 30; one would really wonder how rich a culture and how united a community Taal and its people are.
Albeit the searing heat of the sun, the last day (which I attended) of this three- day festival was lively graced by paraders and street dancers from every barangay of the town.
In the midst of the parade, I had the opportunity to talk to a local- a 50 or so year old, jolly Ka Mandy- who literally grew up in Poblacion, Taal.
From our little chit-chat he mentioned that the said festival was three to four months in the making and every barangay had their representing products and a mobile float to showcase it.
Theirs was Tapa.
He, too, was very proud that unlike the neighboring towns, Taal, is not, in anyway, err… brute; that the said festival is not induced with alcoholic liquors and dead- drunk men; that Taal is rather a place of grandeur and its people are followers of old- fashioned, Filipino etiquette; that the said festival is fueled by sheer will of promoting their classy, home- made products.
True enough, Ka Mandy is one eager local who is so passionate to introduce their hometown’s prides; he could very well be our tour guide.
But unfortunately, Ka Mandy – who I think is a barangay official- had to go elsewhere and bade us a warm good-bye.
Oh! I was with the WOWbatangas team.
See, when you’re in a vivacious festival, and are surrounded by hospitable folks, the thought of you not working and seeing your bosses as co- tourists is a phenomenon I always look forward to.:)
Another feature of the EL PASUBAT festival is the visitation to open, 19th century old houses which is aptly named VISITA EN LA CASA. The featured houses were once homes for Taal’s unsung local heroes and heroines and thanks to Taal Active Alliance Legion (T.A.A.L.)- an org which longs to preserve Taal ancestral houses and of course, Taal culture, for restoring and making those houses a living legacy to Batanguenos and to the rest of the world in general.
Some houses even have video presentations and 19th century ala guwarja sibil dressed people which made the 19thcentury experience all the more interesting.
Old houses? Home- grown products? What possibly could you ask for, right?
Taalenos, too, are performers.
Taalenos during the visita performed the harana and subli which are two of the hundreds of long- lost Filipino traditions.
Okay, the harana might not be forgotten thanks to that now immortal song of Parokya ni Edgar.
But did you know that the subli- the dance that uses castanets- is a ritual that is performed to tame the temperamental volcano?
I did not.
Surprisingly or sadly, I suppose, I only live about two hours away from this scenic heritage town.
And really, I find it too poor of me to be a stranger to a place where my family could possibly root from (Taal is a land of pure blooded Batanguenos, I presume).
And so I thank Taal and its culture- driven festival for re- introducing the rich heritage and home- grown products to clueless chaps like me.