Raise your hand if you've ever been stuffed with menudo, kare-kare, adobo, lumpia, fruit salad, and of course, lechon, when you were invited to a fiesta. And here's a dilemma that only a seasoned fiesta goer could relate to - your relatives and friends might feel bad (tampo) if you don't eat the food that they serve to you. But that's a good kind of dilemma, right? To be stuffed with food?
Or is it?
I have even developed a technique so mapapagbigyan ko lahat ng kaibigan at kamag-anak (I could indulge all my relatives) with their need to feed me - and I am sharing this method with you so you won't resort to sticking your finger up your throat so you could throw up - just sample each dish.
Yup, that's not a totally new technique but it works. Just get a teaspoon or two of each dish and then fill the rest of the minutes with chitchats so they won't bug you to have a take two (a second helping).
But the foods aren't the only reason why Philippine fiestas are just so darn cool. Here are the other whys -
A Rich History
According to Reinerio A. Alba from The National Commission for Culture and Arts, the term fiesta is a Spanish term which is now known as pista or piyesta. This is that grand event when communities gather to celebrate the blessings and passing of yet another year.
Well, you don't have to be a Catholic to enjoy this festivity because it is now recognized as a "national traditional occasion". (Alba, 2009)
For a more in-depth history of the Philippine fiestas, refer to this article.
Spectacular Colors and Activities
What comes to your mind if you're invited to attend a fiesta? There'd be banderitas (buntings), marching bands, swarms of people (mostly your kamag-anaks), processions, and, yes, more food and alcoholic drinks! Other barangays would even hold games and contests. Some would even hold pasayaw (dances).
Favorite Subject for Paintings
Can you name an artist or two who likes painting fiestas? Painters like Carlos "Botong" Francisco and Manuel Baldemor are just two of them.
Fiestas are also a reason to meet with friends and relatives. I particularly like this reason because we only get to see our cousins and long-lost titos, titas, lolos, and lolas while we enjoy eating (more like swimming in) food. I did not grow up in a household that participates in fiestas, though. I don't know if you'd consider that a tragedy but I did enjoy going to other people's homes to celebrate with them.
I did observe that the Visayans are particularly enamored with these festivities. My husband who hails from Cebu, but who lived most of his younger years in Leyte, grew up appreciating fiestas year, after year, after year. He even admitted to knowing people who would go into debt just to finance the said occasion. So, yes, there are upsides and downsides to these celebrations.
The month of May is known to hold the most number of fiestas in our country. Here's the Wikipedia list of Philippine festivals - - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_festivals_in_the_Philippines
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E.S. Villamor has made a career in writing for a decade now. Her online business - GIML (Gabriela Isabel & Miguel Lucas) Publishing started in 2014. She advocated for women's rights and was once enamored with imparting financial literacy through training and blogs but she is now focused on propagating all things Filipino. This site is also being groomed as a rich homeschooling resource.