I have always told anyone who will listen that the “most festive” Festival of Batangas is the Parada ng Lechon of Balayan, Batangas.
The name of the parade is a bit misleading (as well as the logo and posters) because people no longer remember or go to the parade for its lechon (Lechon is a whole pig slowly cooked over fire and hot coal, tasty for its crunchy skin and soft meat). In fact, it is now just a name of a tradition, and I as a Batangueno am no longer proud of the quality of the lechon as presented by those who signed up for the parade.
Over the years, the lechon used has grown smaller and smaller in size, and some even just use the heads to represent human characters. Some floats don’t even feature a lechon. I have yet to speak to the organizers, but I am just not sure of the rules for the delegates.
But going back to my main theme for this post, Parada ng Lechon is still the best street festival of Batangas. And it’s all because of the fun brought about by “basaan ng tubig,” the deliberate use of water on hoses, pails, water guns, and whatever the can hold water to wet people on the streets, in their houses, or during the parade itself. Some even use ice cold water or water with soap.
The highlight of the parade as you can see in the photos are the following : a fire truck hosing down people in front of the marketplace, bands and performers in almost every junction, sexy and beautiful girls on the floats, and the beer and gin parties that come after.
I invited my friends Dan and Pat to go with me to this year’s parade (my third all-in-all) and they celebrated their anniversary in the streets of Balayan. We all went home tired and joking that we didn’t have fun at all. Truth is, we just had a really good time.
This festival is in honor of St. John the Baptist, and is also observed in other towns and cities of the Philippines (or the world) most notably in San Juan, Manila.
Come with us next year and you won’t be disappointed.