Fiesta – Bohol style, arriba!

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Fiesta – Bohol style, arriba!

Topic |  

April 30, 2017

LIKE NO OTHER- BOHOL FIESTAS ARE . Fiestas, after all, are as exciting to Boholanos as Christmas, New Year and even one’s birthday.

Afraid to have  a “bungol” fiesta, some blow out a year’s  money savings and slaughter   the last two pigs in the pen to celebrate. Others beg, steal and borrow  money to celebrate. Likewise,  getting drunk during fiestas is allowed even by the most conservative of Bohalana missus,

Fiesta celebration (Bohol style) perhaps – can never be found in any other place in the country. For two reasons

One-  because it is only in Bohol where the feast at the table would last for three days. Boholanos call it “ante-desperas,” ( 2 days before fiesta day)  “desperas” the (exciting day before fiesta) and the  actual “grand fiesta day”.


In most houses, no less than 2 lechons are set on the table for a two-day celebration.. For those  well- to- do hosts, a new crispy lechon is served in every lunch and dinner for three consecutive days or a total of 6 lechons per house. Unbeatable!  

Two-  it is only in Bohol that EVERDAY in May there is a fiesta celebration, be it a town or barrio fiesta. Aside from the city, during the month  the towns of Alburquerque, Maribojoc, Sagbayan, San Isidro, San Miguel, Calape , Bilar, Tubigon, San Isidro, Candijay and Talibon celebrate theirs.

Uniquely  Bohol – fiestas here mean  every home  becomes an “open house” for everyone. No need for an invitation nor for a guest to  to know the names of the owners of the house. One can just grab his plate and join the guests- no impoliteness is construed.

What is also patented in a way for Boholanos is that 95% of the Boholanos who would come home for the fiesta will be bringing a friend.,  For one to come home without a friend is a taboo as it will make one appear to be an unfriendly person who knows no other person  in this world

So the rooms in Boholano homes are prepared. At least new curtains, salas repainted and new ornamental plants abound.And it is  perhaps only in Bohol where you see the “masters bedroom” vacated for guests to stay.. The host family wont mind staying in one  room and have the other rooms occupied by visitors.

And food, ah the food.  In Bohol fiestas – it is normal for the hosts  to pack food for the visitors  to bring home (“bring house”) after partaking of  a hearty meal.And, of course,  every minute shared at the table becomes a memorable bonding time among family members and new- found friends,                  


Bohol’s surname is Hospitality with a capital H. History shows that  it was here that the stranger- Spaniard  Admiral Legaspi was welcomed by Datu Sikatuna with a warm embrace and a blood compact as treaty of friendship and what  is now called as “Sandugo.” 


This  warm,welcoming attitude remains in the heart of every Boholano.  A kind of hospitality that  perhaps no other culture can beat. 

But ,too, there is the deep religiosity of the Boholanos reflected  in every fiesta celebration as it is done  to honor  their patron saint. It is normal seeing all guests and hosts attend the Pontifical Mass on the feast day- a way of thanking their patron saint for the blessings and the protection they bring for the whole year .

So ingrained is the fiesta psyche in the minds of the Boholano folks.  For instance, even in  ordinary nipa houses in the middle of the rice field- a host family will buy a piglet a week after their fiesta for them to raise and get ready for next year’s fiesta celebration.


That’s “Fiesta Bohol style”…. and in the midst of the recent reports of the  attempted operations of the Abu Sayyaf here, we  Boholanos would like to categorically say “Welcome, Turista, not Terorista!”

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IT WAS POPE PIUS XII that mandated May 1 as the Patron Day of St Joseph the Worker, apart from March 19 which is as the Foster Father of Jesus. St Joseph, the Carpenter is the model and protector of workers.

A man of humble means, Joseph , even without the modern tools of carpentry and engineering -supported Mary and Jesus with his labor.  He is said to have come from the royal lineage of King David of the Old Testament.

St Joseph is known to have died early. He certainly was not at Calvary where it was only St John who consoled Mary before the dying Christ crucified in the cross. 

In contemporary Philippines, May 1 today is celebrated with workers anticipating the end of ENDO which has enslaved thousands of workers through the years. Perhaps the beginning, too, of real land distribution for farmer- laborers under the Agrarian Reform Program. 

On our part, we  punctuate the  observance  of Labor Day and the recent Easter with two light talk.

The late Bobbit Sanchez, Labor Secretary under President Cory  -was  once asked by media during a press conference on  May 1st- why he seemed to always  favoring labor. The progressive leader said:” Because I am  the  secretary of Labor, not  the secretary of Management, that’s why.”

The Easter joke is that Joseph of Arimathea ,a rich trader – who, together with Nicodemus-asked the governor Pilate for the body of Jesus for be laid in a tomb. It was granted and the lifeless Christ  was laid in a white tomb adorned with precious stones and fine ointment on Good Friday.

Joseph’s peers were amazed why he allowed such an expensive tomb  to bury  a criminal like Jesus. Of which , Joseph retorted :” It’s just for the weekend.”.

Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. Happy Fiesta, everyone!

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