Fiestas PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 12:18

LOOKING IN

BY ROD BALBON

There are many kinds of programs and activities that are lined up in celebrating fiestas. But unlike before when the focal point of celebration is coated with religious fervor in deference to a patron saint, fiestas today has evolved into a new facet.

Fiestas today are celebrated to serve as a safety valve, an escape from the daily strains and stresses of a tense and monotonous way of life. It is a sort of respite, though ephemeral, for people who want to be free from their routine works and assigned tasks.

I’ve stopped and never attended a fiesta for about four decades since I could remember. It is my personal belief that fiestas are like those pagan celebrations and a waste of time and money. Introduced to us by our Spanish conquistadores, these were used to tame and subjugate the Filipino Indios to Spanish authority.

But last Monday, while following up matters with my previous office, I was invited by my former officemate to attend the Barangay Mercedes fiesta and visit the Toribio “open house’. After completing my business transactions at almost noon time, I finally decided to accept the offer and went with the group.

It was raining when we reached Mercedes but it did not stop the visiting multitudes of visitors to come and visit their former classmates, friends and relatives.

There were lots of foods and drinks. I can still recall the delicious “estopado” that was laced with achuetes. Then there was the soft and mouth-watering “pata” cooked with beans. Of course, there was the ever present lechon which is the center piece of the celebration. Many believe that a fiesta is not complete without this crunchy, crispy and tasty piece de resistance.

I was also lucky to have met a classmate who I’ve not seen for many decades. We may be looking old, but we remained the same-- noisy, jolly, and still full of life just like when we were still in our younger years in high school. I also met my former officemate at the Department of Tourism. He was already retired and said that he is “now winding up” and enjoying every beat of life as a retiree.

Unlike before when we’ll talk about girls and parties, our topic was different. We instead talk on how to remain physically fit and exchanged notes on the kind medicine and the number of milligrams we take.

I felt sad after having been informed that more than thirty of my high school batch mates have already gone to the great beyond and only very few are attending reunions and anniversaries.

All the while I thought that going to an “open house” during fiesta is all eating and drinking. But now I realized that it is not only so. It is indeed it is a “safety valve”—an escape and an opportune occasion to meet and renew acquaintances with long-lost friends, relatives, and classmates whose company brings us back to the good old days.