La Loma Lechon Festival (Parada ng mga Lechon)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The best way to celebrate fiesta in La Loma is to dress up and parade roasted pigs in the annual Lechon Festival.

What better way to celebrate fiesta in La Loma but to, well, dress up and parade roasted pigs (lechon) in the annual La Loma Lechon Festival or Parada ng mga LechonAfter all, La Loma is the lechon capital of the Philippines.

Lechons or whole roasted pigs that were on display during the La Loma Lechon Festival
Lechons or whole roast pigs that were on display

Lechon Festival in La Loma (Parada ng mga Lechon)

    Ask any food-loving Filipino and you will most often find lechon included in their list of favorite food. For those who are not aware, lechons are whole roast pigs. The most prized part of which is the its crunchy skin that is best eaten when dipped in sweet-sour liver sauce.


    Brief History of the La Loma Parada ng mga Lechon Festival 

    The La Loma Lechon Festival (Parada ng mga Lechon) was launched more than 10 years ago as a promotional effort and as a celebration of the main source of livelihood of the district of La Loma in Quezon City, which is selling of lechons. 

    The Parada ng mga Lechon is celebrated every third Sunday of May. Since then, it has become a main attraction in La Loma, drawing quite a good number of tourists and spectators from around Metro Manila and nearby provinces. A most awaited part of the celebration is that, after the parade, the lechons are chopped and distributed to residents, visitors, as well as participants in the festival.

    Our La Loma Lechon Festival experience

    Last May 16, 2011, I accepted an invitation from my good friend Deeday to watch the Lechon Festival or parade of lechons at their place in La Loma. I thought it would be amusing to see all those succulent roasted pigs in colorful costumes and positioned in various made up scenes in vibrant floats and carriages.

    Deeday and I met at UP at around 10 am with hopes of jogging a few round at the Acad Oval. However, we eventually dropped our initial plan to jog around the acad oval because of sheer laziness. As such, we proceeded straight to La Loma instead. We were early, it was just 10:30 AM so we decided to just take a walk around the area and work up a sweat.

    Being playful with my shadow during the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Being playful with my shadow

    We really had no idea when the parade would start. So by 12 noon, we decided to head to Shakey's for some "light" lunch because we were already feeling hungry. After lunch, we went back to Deeday's house to rest a bit from the heat and just wait there for the parade to arrive.

    Blue drum at the La Loma Lechon Festival
    There were loud drumbeats for an even more festive mood

    The Lechon Parade

    The whole of La Loma was in fiesta mood, as can be expected, with many people lining the sidewalks. We were among those people who were eagerly waiting for the Parada ng mga Lechon to finally begin.

    Lechon dressed as a royal couple during the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Dressed as a royal couple

    The parade started a bit late at around past 1 PM. Children as well as adults were all in the sidewalks excitedly trying to get a good view of the lechons on parade.

    Lechon in a horse drawn carriage during the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Lechons on a horse-drawn carriage
    Faint drumbeats from a few blocks away signaled that the parade was nearby. When the parade finally came into view, the spectators were obviously thrilled to see the "stars" of the fiesta. There were drumbeats and there were street dancers. There were also countless lechons on display and decked in colorful clothes and accessories.

    Under the sea-themed float at the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Under the sea

    Lechon dressed as the Little Mermaid during the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Dressed as the Little Mermaid 

    I later realized that only the heads of the pigs were used; I initially thought that whole pigs were dressed up. The body supporting the head, meanwhile, is made up of various materials like wooden skeletons and frames to papier maches - and then dressed up and decorated.

    People in lechon costumes riding a float during the La Loma Lechon Festival
    People wearing lechon masks

    Aside from the dancing band, the parade is really just all about lechons that are dressed and decorated in various ways and mounted in colorful floats. It such a spectacle with pigs dressed a princes and princesses, mermaids, and superheroes, just to name a few. There were street performers but they ask for a fee if you would like to see them dance and do acrobatics.

    Lechon dressed as Captain Barbell during the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Dressed as Captain Barbell

    Before watching the parade, we were actually looking forward to having lechon. However, with all the lechons that we saw that day, we found it quite impossible to even have the slightest craving for crispy, fatty pork skin.

    Lechons in honor of senior citizens at the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Senior citizens' float

    Lechons in drum and lyre costumes at the La Loma Lechon Festival
    Dressed in drum and lyre attire

    The end of the parade of floats signaled the most anticipated portion of the festivities -- free lechon that was to be distributed to the residents of La Loma, resulting in kilometric queues.



    When the parade had finished, Deeday and I decided to stroll around the La Loma area and marvel at the old houses as we waited for the evening procession.

    Later that night, we had coffee and chatted for a while. I went home early that evening as we were both tired and there was work the following day.


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