Delve into the country’s traditional fiesta celebrations! Get intimate with Filipino culture; experience the sights, sounds and amazing scenes during this much awaited occasion across the Philippines.
Last week, I’ve been asked by several kin if I am going to go visit Valencia this October. ‘Am not sure, I’ll see’ was my usual reply. I also asked back ‘are you going?’ They all replied in the affirmative.
You see in less than a month, in October 12, is the town fiesta of Valencia in Negros Oriental, my lola’s hometown on mother’s side.
On a good year, when finances are okay, many of my relatives visit the province in time for fiesta. Last time I was there was last October.
Valencia fiestas are typical of rural town celebrations of this kind in the Philippines. It’s a big huge event! It’s a celebration that everyone prepares and waits for every year, a happening that may even rival the festivities of the Christmas season. This occasion also shows you a facet of Filipino culture and tradition both in the religious and secular activities, from the novena and solemn procession to the merry-making, bonding and camaraderie that follows.
Most houses will prepare a big handaan with a cornucopia of favorite and popular dishes. The amazing thing is even if you are a complete stranger; you can enter anyone’s house, partake of the food, and join in the festivities.
It is fiesta after all and everyone is welcome!
It’s a bit different in the big cities; the hosts may not be as welcoming to strangers that may walk into their houses compared to their rural counterparts. =)
Bohol is notorious for fiestas, they say every day of the month of May you can find a fiesta happening somewhere in Bohol. Many employers with Boholano in their staff know that when May comes they expect their employees to request for a time off ‘to go home for the fiesta’. Surprisingly, many employers will consent to the time off requests. Out of respect for the fiesta tradition? Out of fear that denial will result to workplace inefficiency? Don’t know but it’s a good thing going for those with Bohol roots.
In our country, many of the sons and daughters of the town who have transferred to other provinces to work and live permanently will usually feel this strong, incessant pull calling them back to the place of their birth. For some it is an everyday yearning to go back home, for others it may happen rarely but no doubt that this pull is especially strong when the town’s fiesta celebration approaches just like during Christmas.
A good example on this is my Lola, I think as far as I remember even as a child, she always go visit Valencia every October 12, of course, with my Lolo in tow. She will be bubbling with excitement weeks before the trip!
I actually began writing today when I saw my lola airing her traveling bag. =)