What to Expect in Filipino Fiesta Tradition
In the Philippines, people in the provinces receive visitors in a very unique manner. Drinks and delicious foods are set for everyone during town fiestas of patron saints. Hospitality and the Spirit of Give and Take is never absent in the Filipino homes.
Starting for the Fiesta the Filipino Way
A small pig lies flat on the long table over banana leaves. Lemon grass or banana leaves are washed and stuffed inside the stomach of the pig to give aroma to the interior portion of the pig. A group of young men light charcoals at the backyard, under a provisional nipa-roofed structure to shade and defend them from sun or rain. After a short while early morning, the pig is laid over live coals with an-arm size stick from mouth to the tail. There is continuous turning to avoid bringing uneven cooking till the most interior part.
During the process, when the pig is rolled over live coals a mixture is wiped on the skin of the pig. This takes several hours before this ‘Lechon’ is brought to the dining table either whole or chopped. The result is a crispy, mouth-watering texture and aromatic delicacy of the Filipinos. An apple is also plucked on the mouth of the lechoned pig, and the sauce prepared from its liver.
Lechon is always present in Filipino occasions. They go with chicken adobo, chicken relleno, Valenciana, estofado, Molo soup, sweets, and drinks.
All is welcome during celebrations in the provinces, rich or poor alike, natives or foreigners. There is no discrimination. Open house to all, the gates remain open the whole day. There is also no limitation on how much you eat. Everybody are friends to the Patron Saint’s Day celebration.
Mass and prayers are offered to open the day while men and cooks are working on the food and table preparation. Early in the morning, packs of instant coffees are lined with cups and hot water. Sandwiches, breads and assorted fillings are open those who want their breakfast. Their work goes on smoothly and accomplished with the syrupy texture and yummy flavor of the coffee.
Lunch is ready! The house is jampacked with people from all walks of life. Everyone greets another and as introductions go on, one visitor is a relative to another’s relative concluding that they belong to only one family only separated by work or marriage to a far away or nearby town. The acquaintance continues farther with the serving of liquors, accompanied by ‘kilawin’ prepared by the cooked skin of pork, sliced and mixed with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic and vinegar, slightly sprinkled with sugar. There are also broiled ‘Pantat’ or catfish caught in the farms.
Participants to the drinking session get rosy-cheeked in the late afternoon, dancing and singing out-of-tune, but everybody, happy.
Memorable events similar to this Filipino religious tradition in the provinces are brought home by visiting foreigners back to their countries. This is an experience they will never forget ; the experience of dancing and singing out-of-tune. Some others propose to hold the same in their own countries.
Can they apply the same traditional practice of the Filipinos wherein friends or no friends, relative or non-relative are free to enter, join, eat and have fun with the family? Friends forever, that’s the Filipino.