Tuesday, July 14, 2015

7th Lechon Festival in Balasan

photo by Bombette G. Marin

Take one friendly town, combine with an enviable food culture, mix in passionate local producers and an array of exciting attractions and what do you get – Balasan’s Lechon Festival of course!

When it comes to lechon, there is no place in Iloilo that takes it as seriously as the folks in Balasan. Lechon Festival is a celebration of food, culture and community, making it truly one of Iloilo's most unique festivals. For the last seven years, the festival has fostered cooperation between the barangay officials and the residents.

As a kick-off to their Religious Fiesta celebration in honor of their patron Sta. Ana, every 24th of July, residents of this town gather on the main street fronting the municipal hall to share a sumptuous feast, the culinary centerpiece is the most revered of all Filipino food, the mouth-watering and flavourful lechon or roast suckling pig.

The lechons are prepared authentically Balasan by cooks who grew up roasting and eating it on this town. As early as 3 a.m. the cooks are already preparing the lechon. The pig is placed on a spit, innards removed, on a large stick and cooking it in a roasting pit filled with charcoal. It is roasted while continuously wiping its skin with brush made of banana leaves with oil and milk. This procedure makes the skin crispy, and repeatedly roasting it over the heat for at least 5 hours until they turn a crispy, red-golden brown.

The entire day creates an aromatic atmosphere that hangs over the festival, leaving a taste you will never forget.

The highlight of this theme-based festival is a mischievous merriment through a no-holds-barred boodle fight open to everybody. By the time the boodle fight starts at noon, the skin will be crispy, with some fat and super tender roast meat. The sumptuous buffet features a whole pig on display. People just sidle up to the table and pluck off whatever they want. When lunch is over, there is nothing but a few bones. Boodle feast bring the community even closer together.

Lechon is an all-time favourite Filipino fiesta staple especially during celebrations. It is a popular cuisine in Spanish speaking countries. It is said to have originated from Spain where it is prepared throughout the year for any special occasion, during festivals, and the holidays.

Aside from lechon, Balasan is also known for its Bibingka, a native Philippine delicacy made of rice flour, eggs, grated coconut and sugar. The RCJ Special Bibingka made in Balasan is known by many to be the best ever in Iloilo.

The people of Balasan, headed by their ever-supportive tourism oriented Municipal Mayor, Hon. Filomeno V. Ganzon is inviting everyone to come and take part as they celebrate their 7th Lechon Festival.

Balasan is a fourth class municipality in the province of Iloilo 134 kilometers north-east from Iloilo City. It is politically subdivided into 23 barangays distributed to its 4,100 hectare land area.
To get there is a two-hour and a half bus or van trip from Northern Iloilo Public Transport Terminal in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City.


  1. I was born in balasan , Iloilo,at that time theres no such festival like this,during the town fiesta but now its really different ,for the past 35 years that I missed my birthplace ,I just visited my relatives in camambugan last 2012,2014 and this coming October 2015 hope gonna taste the sili-sili in the afternoon market and of course the pride of Balasan the Lechon and Bibingka .thanks Balasan

  2. I am also a native resident of balasan, in fact our house is very nearest from where the festival is being celebrated(balasan plaza). but there is no such thing as boodle in that festival. lechon is just a display in the table, they are not allowing any people to get or to taste thier lechon.

    1. hi, i am always there and enjoying the boodle fight with my friends. I don't know about you. Please see attached pic in this article so that you may knpw.


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