Fiesta Weekend!

Just had a whirlwind weekend! First up was the 2012 Fete de la Musique on Makati Avenue corner Kalayaan Avenue (note to self: should walk around NE of Makati often). We saw foreign and local artists, mostly non-mainstream, musicians, dancers, and DJs. They had Cynthia Alexander on the main stage, who performed one of her last here in the country. The main act was Chinese Man, who had no problem making the crowd dance. The life of the event was on the street though: tambuleros with their djembe and doumbek made quite a ruckus towards the booths section, inviting people to dance and perform on the spot:

We called that particular venue the “upstage,” since the small circle of drummers seemed to be upstaging the performers in the other venues. The Fete was interspersed in 8 venues that night, but we spent most of our time in the drum circle. It was exciting to play alongside musicians on the street. The whole thing was spontaneous, but it felt exactly right to be part of it (video c/o npalfaro). Grrr, I wish I brought my djembe… more drums = more fun!

That was Saturday night.

I went with Sab, Isay, and Couch Surfing Philippines to Balayan, Batangas (around 2 hours from Quezon City) on Sunday. June 24 is the feast day of St. John the Baptist, and Balayeños celebrate the day with lechon (roasted suckling pig) and water… lots of them! The idea is to remind people of the baptism in river Jordan, so staying dry during the day isn’t possible. People of all ages are on the streets and equipped with all manner of water guns, pails and dippers or tabo, water hoses, pitchers, and anything that can hold water. Once they run out of water, some revelers would even splash you with beer! Being splashed with water is one thing, but some of them have ice cold water as the weapon of choice! Everything should be taken in stride though… it wouldn’t work if you’re pikon, especially if you don’t have water to throw back! No photos of the four wet (and for some minutes, bubbly) hours in the town though :(

The Parada ng Lechon lasts roughly from nine to noon. Sponsors and local organizations parade their lechon on flatbed trucks, multiple times around the town center. The lechon are wrapped from nose to tail, so that the splashing won’t ruin the glorious pork. After the parade and around lunch, these lechon are transported back to the organization’s turf and eaten (the best word here is salu-salo, to eat together with much gusto!). We were invited to eat in the house of a kagawad and in Mayor Manny Fronda’s house. The lechon was heaven! The pork was melts-in-your-mouth soft, and the sauce brought out the best in the meat.

The whole Balayan experience was amazing! There’s still the beach to visit, and a walking tour of the town to do, so another visit in the future is in my bucket list!

We had a short historic tour of Taal, Batangas after Balayan:

Church marker, Basilica de San Martin de Tours

the rooftop is accessible for a fee

street corner with Casa Punzalan Hotel

sariling sikap picture with Sab and Isay

The Basilica is said to be the biggest Catholic church in the Philippines and Asia, and I remember the wonder of seeing the facade while the van was about to park. The view easily helped me wake up! The church grounds is also on top of a small hill, so you can see a good view of the whole town. I feel I still have a lot to experience in Taal…

Two fiestas in twenty-four hours. I’ll try to beat that in the future!

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5 thoughts on “Fiesta Weekend!

  1. Nice! Thanks for being part of the event. We enjoyed playing on the streets the crowd was so awesome.

    Kita-kits sa susunod na drum jam. :)

  2. I miss checking out the live music scene in Philippines. You get to Cynthia Alexander!! I consider Comet’s Tail as one of the finest OPM album out there.

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