Fiestas in the Philippines are held to celebrate a patron saint or to mark the passage of the seasons, depending on which part of the country you’re in. The Philippine fiesta is part and parcel of Filipino culture.
This past week has marked the beginning of the SARAKIKI-HADANG FESTIVAL in Calbayog City where we live in Western Samar, and it ends today…after all the food has been eaten!. Well, actually the end of the fiesta and the food is purely coincidental, but today is the last day and the final celebration is underway as they have been busy cooking up a fair fit for a Spanish King for several days.
Per the local tourism site “This colorful festival takes its name from the local term ‘Sarakiki’ which describes the frenzied movements of a rooster as it tries to court a hen or challenge another rooster to a fight. “Hadang” meanwhile refers to the olden day rituals performed by the locals as offering to the gods. Participants perform the rhythmic dance during the festival which is thought to cure the sick and bring a good harvest.”
I don’t understand the relevance of this fiesta to any season or patron saint here (they are celebrating a rooster) but all the same, it is one big celebration. Actually, even if the world did not have patron saints or seasons, the Filipino would have a myriad of other reasons to party. Every city and barangay (or village) has its own fiesta, and at times, can seem like a never-ending string of events from one village to the next.
My wife and I have been to town a couple of times this week and it’s been pretty much wall to wall people. Yesterday we made our through the masses of people watching the parade as we looked to get to our favorite breakfast and coffee place. We couldn’t make it across the parade route it was so crowded. So we stopped in at a friend’s house for coffee. Once the drumming stopped, we knew it was over. It seems the Philippines has no shortage of drum and bugle corps (without the bugler) and marching bands (without much music). It’s all about the drumming, at least from what I witnessed. At least they are spaced appropriately inside the parade so that as one fades, another comes into earshot. There is no short of color either as parade participants are dressed to the max.
Today, we will head into town again for the actual fiesta of food. We have been invited to eat and there will be no shortage of places to accomplish just that – and probably even a few more than we don’t know of yet. It’s a day to relax, take it easy, eat slow, eat a lot. I might even take my camera.
And of course, there will be no shortage of the special guest of honor, Lechon Baboy (roasted pig). Many homes will offer Lechon. Like I said, we will take it slow, eat a fair share, and be back at working out at the gym again on Tuesday (I foresee taking a take a day off for proper digestion).