This is surely not a festival for the quick-tempered ones. This is a huge party for people who embrace Filipino culture – infused with both the celebration of Catholicism and the rich cultural heritage. This is Parada ng Lechon – the King of all Philippine Festivals!
We woke up earlier than the 24th of June sun, still drowned in our own sleepiness. But upon reaching the town proper of Balayan, home to Parada ng Lechon, something has gotten into our senses that prompted us to get all the party hormones alive.
The Festival’s Main Star
Hundreds of pigs succumbed to death for the sake of this world-class festival. Aw, pity those cholesterol-rich Pinoy favorite. Before the parade started, we strolled down the streets of the Kanluran district (where Parada ng Lechon is being celebrated) to pay tribute to those roasted pigs and to witness how they have sacrificed their lives to make us all happy. Kawawa naman.
Marilyn, our newest team member, and I spotted a dozen of pigs being roasted. Then I saw a man bathing another pig with Royal (yes, the tru-orange). According to Odes Engriso, a resident who entertained some of our queries, told us that Royal gives the pig’s skin a pinkish/orangey tint. The roasting process lasts for about four hours or so. She also shared the longevity of this festival, dating way back to her grandparents’ days. Apparently, no matter how old this festival becomes, the cordial Balayeños keep hold of the excitement to rejoice this special fiesta every year.
The Best Part
This is it! Too bad we don’t have water guns. The Parade started around 8:30am, and even before that, there are a lot of locals already splashing water on the by-passers. Including us. One thing’s for sure – hindi KJ ang mga Balayeños. They are such fun-loving people and this trait makes the festival one of the happiest events in the Philippines!
As I’ve mentioned, this is not a festival for quick-tempered people. Dito, bawal ang pikon. If you become a target of the water splash, you don’t have a choice but to just give them the pleasure of doing so. We say, get it on! After all, this is for the feast of St. John the Baptist.
Participating in the parade were various business establishments, social institutions, clubs, and organizations – a mix of locals and guests from outside the borders of Balayan. Multitude participants flocked the streets of the district as the parade roamed around specific areas in town. Balayeños, together with local and foreign tourists, partied all day.
The best thing about the Parada ng Lechon is that you would not feel left out. Everybody loves merry making. So we blended with the elated crowd and let loose of our inhibitions. This is the grandest street party ever! Have you ever tried being splashed with water from a fire truck? It’s the coolest thing! Haha. I can’t hide my excitement, exclamation points are attacking.
This is the only fiesta where I’ve seen a concert stage on every street! Bukod sa tubig, bumabaha din ng beer. Libreng beer! Just as festive as the Mardi Gras festival. As in. If you’re a party animal, your reputation might be questioned if you haven’t been to Parada ng Lechon even for once. This festival is a real wet and wild party which everybody gets to enjoy – no matter what age group you belong to, no matter who you are, no matter from where you are.
Balayeños deserve our warm applause for their equally warm hospitality. It’s a nice experience that you get to celebrate a festival other than your own town fiesta and you wouldn’t actually feel alienated. Kasing init ng baga sa paglilitson ang pagtanggap ng mga tao dito.
And with that, the whole WOWBatangas Team would like to extend our deepest appreciation to Vice Mayor Meldos Castelo for welcoming us. To his neighbors – the family who allowed us to use their hose and water guns (especially the kids and the little one named Yuri) – thank you so much and sorry if we weren’t able to at least ask your names. And to the HADS Club for letting us enjoy their street party.
We all hope to come back next year. What the Balayeños have made us feel is the kind of enjoyment that branches out from the roots of our being Filipino. You made us all feel proud to be Pinoys, and more so to be Batangueños.
See for yourselves how we celebrated Parada ng Lechon 2010 in our image gallery. Also, watch out for our exclusive interview with Vice Mayor Meldos Castelo for more details about this year’s Parada ng Lechon.
Parada ng Lechon 2010 sa Balayan, Batangas Image Gallery