Monday, November 27, 2006


Thanksgiving has come and gone in the US. It's funny that Dumaguete's fiesta is around the same time. The Philippines, with its Spanish colonial history have patron saints for each city or township. Each patron saint's feast day is celebrated with a fiesta where normally all households in a given township would open their doors and serve up all sorts of food to any, and I mean any, visitor who might walk in. Visitors from nearby townships would more often than not flock to the houses of the more affluent as you'd expect they'd have grander fare. Normally one would get invited to the houses of friends and relatives and it would be a day full of eating from breakfast till dinner. One could literally have a meal in a different house throughout the day. One house for breakfast, mid-morning snacks, lunch, mid afternoon snack ( or merienda ), dinner and even late supper! Fiestas are ridiculously extravagant occasions and towns put on their best with fairs and parades and all sorts of events.

I can't remember the last fiesta we celebrated in Dumaguete but normally Mom and Dad would have already invited their own out-of-town guests over. It would almost always be a big event with our faithful Takoy and company doing most of the cooking of traditional fiesta fare: calderata, arroz valenciana, pancit, lumpia etc. I know that town fiestas have a religious significance but for most people, fiestas are merely an excuse for food, and lots of it. Not that I'm complaining though as that's what I mostly know of fiestas anyway... :)

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