There are moments or moods, as you prefer, that comes without a
warning sign. It can depend on whether it is a good or bad mood but the thing is it's unexpected. When an invitation is a week long & when the day comes & you're okay with either going or not & you went anyway - and it's about 3 filipinas for appero & when the wine tastes sooo good, you know that your bahay alcohol has awaken. And it does not wake up like that but only in random moments. What does it mean? It means that it's a part of you that will not entirely die with environment or age or even with the people you're with - it's you you & you feel good being the way you were. That blissful moment where everything does not matter - an oasis of rest - before you blink back into reality & we all need an oasis to get us through our reality but sometimes it is also about the people who just happen to share a moment of your life. Sometimes in life, it is not just a matter of choosing. It is most of the time about feeling. And that is something we will always keep because it stays in our hearts. Thank you for being part of my panorama.
Although there are not as much sea urchins this year, our little barrio's tradition, L'Oursinade, will continue like it did every February for the past 30 years. But I have to admit that in the 5 years we lived here, we didn't really get into the spirit of the Sea Urchin Festival. Like a fisherman's celebration, the festival includes Provençal folklorique music & dance while enjoying the indescribable taste of the sea urchin even during the height of winter. Photo taken from last year's Oursinade
It is with France's idyllic respect for tradition & nationalism that always made me look back to my own roots, our very own fiestas - only one of the many other things I regretfully took for granted while I was busy adoring other cultures of the world on TV. I've never been to any real fiesta back in the Philippines except for the local ones in our village & province of Nasugbu, Batangas. Now that the year has just started, let's take a glimpse of our popular festivals in our islands. How much do we know our fiestas?
Fiestas in the Philippines is a celebration usually religious in nature but is likewise a piece of our history. Although a lot of them has a lot of Spanish background, there are pre-Spanish years of tradition. January seems to be the best month to catch the better festivals in the country, most of them to celebrate the patron Sto. Niño but a Mardigras style. It starts with hala-bira! the Ati-atihan in Kalibo, Aklan, known for its rythmic drums & colorful costumes. Just a few islands away, Cebu celebrates the Sinulog Festival. Then just across, Iloilo celebrates the Dinagyang Festival, dinagyang translated as "merry making," celebrating the Christianization of the natives who sealed the peace pact between the Negrito Ati tribe & the Malays, Ati warrior customes & weapons grace this festival. Worth visitng the three festivals as they are all located in the Visayan region. Ati-atihan photo taken from www.ati-atihan.net
In February, the city of pines offer the Panagbenga Flower Festival, colorful ethnic tribal costumes & flower floats parade to the Bendian dance of unity & harmony among tribes. Come April, the Lenten Season of the country celebrates Moriones Festival in Marinduque, passion plays in warrior costumes & masks. Then the famous Cutud Lenten Rites, in San Fernando, Pampanga, where villagers participate inthe act of self-flagellation in the morning of Good Friday.
May is the flower month of the Philippines. In Quezon, the Pahiyas Festival celebrates good harvest & good times. Not only flowers but kiping, suman & houses with colorful & creative decors. In the same month, the whole country joins in the Santacruzan or Flores de Mayo, parading lovely ladies in beautiful Maria Clara gowns. In June, Tacloban celebrates the Pintados Festival of tattoos & body paint signifying courage of warriors.
Jumping to September, the Peñafrancia Festival of Naga City is a spiritual celebration of novenas & the fluvial procession. Another regatta show comes in October at the Hermosa Festival of Zamboanga, where the colorful vintas take the waters. Down in Visayas, the Masskara Festival of Bacolod City is also celebrated in October, carnival style. Just across, Camiguin celebrates the Lanzones Festival parading Mindanao tribal costumes. Like one festival here in France, la Fete des Geants in Lille (Festival of Giants), the locals of Angono, Rizal celebrates the Higantes Festival in November, where the higantes is a 10 feet paper-maché puppet. Masskara Festival photo from www.lakbaypilipinas.com/masskara_festival
December is the biggest festival of the country - Christmas but aside from that, the Giant Lantern Festival in San Fernando, Pampanga adds up to the our country's bright holidays with a lantern measuring 40 feet in diameter. Not having the patience to include the many other festivals around the country, the Philippines is abundant of beautiful fiestas that are a part of our history & our spiritualism, shaping our culture. I hope we continue to respect the tradition - maki-fiesta! It's fun & truly ours.
I learned that nationalism doesn't really start at home.
Say, what fiesta have you been to in the Philippines?
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