One of the main attractions of the Philippines are the many Fiestas the constant flow of religious parades and events. On the 18th February each year the City of Bayawan in Negros have a splendid event and for the second occasion my partner and I traveled early in the morning by aircon coach, to attend this event with her family.
Negros has not been favored by good weather the sky’s have been overcast by storm clouds and there has been loads of tropical rain. However as if by a miracle, we had no rain on the 18th and the fiesta was blessed with a sun, that only, sometimes was overshadowed by storm clouds.
The Baywan fiesta parade is always a colorful event, young girls and men in fiesta uniforms dance through the streets to the sound of drums and brass band music. There smiles light up their faces, sweets are thrown out to the crowds.
This is like most other Fiestas a very colorful and noisy event. Prior to this event, families roast succulent pigs and cook the local traditional foods for the traditional feast and celebration. A tent market with cheap gifts and clothes lines many of streets and flick coin and other fun games stalls are included in the fun.
The Filipino’s especially those in the provinces such as Bayawan are noted for their generosity, if you walk pass their feast however grand or meager they invite you to eat. At fiesta time especially it’s hard to turn down their insistence to a custom more older than held in the religious one introduced original by the Spanish. At fiesta the welcomes become louder and bolder through out the day.
The delicious smell of cooking, of roast pig, chicken and fish drifts temptingly through the air though out the day time and evening. The smiles of children and the adults hides the fact that many of these happy faces belong to those that live in poverty.
My partner and I had a marvelous day of which drifted in to a marvelous non planned evening as we found it hard to get a coach home to Dumaguete, we decided to stay over night at a clean but little bit run down pension house (small hotel). It was easy and cheap to buy our over night needs and clean cloths for the next day.
I love Filipino food and the meals we had whilst enjoying our stay where cooked beautifully and tasted wonderful. However my stomach is hardened by eating Filipino food for 7 years and I would not recommend tourist to eat the food I had that day. Hygiene is not the best assets of the Filipino cooks in the provinces.