Sunday, July 17, 2016

Balasan’s Savory Lechon Festival Turns 8

Balasan, Iloilo will celebrate its 8th Lechon Festival on July 22, 2016 as an opening salvo for their annual Religious and Municipal Fiesta. The festival is considered to be one of the provinces’ ultimate fiesta experiences that one should not miss.

Early in the morning, the atmosphere in the poblacion streets are already filled with delight as passers-by can smell the tangy aroma from the suckling pig being roasted.  They line one after the other as its bright orange dip sauce with a sweet and sour taste is applied regularly. 

When Balasanons want a really special treat for their festival they go for the fun and exciting Boodle Fight during lunch. The entire community with their guests and visitors look forward to the annual Boodle fight, a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and arranged outside the poblacion street where the centrepiece, the lechon is placed on top of the banana leaves bordered with rice and ready to eat using your bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the side to wash hands before the "eating combat" which symbolizes camaraderie, brotherhood and equality. The municipal mayor then signals to start the boodle fight as everyone aims for his or her position.

For the people of Balasan, roasting a suckling pig is more than just cooking a meal, it is an event. Stuffed with a combination of lemongrass, garlic, onions, tamarind leaves and local herbs, it is roasted over open low hot fire over a charcoal for hours. Balasan’s lechon is best known for its tasty, tender meat and crispy skin, probably among the best and most delicious in the entire province

Considered to be our national dish, roasted suckling pig popularly known as lechon is of Spanish origin.  And for former colonies of Spain it is a celebratory dish, a star in the table prepared especially on important occasions such as grand family events, birthdays and fiestas.

In the province of Iloilo, Balasan’s lechon is hailed as the best. That is why its Lechon Festival has grown to be an annual homecoming and celebration of what has made the Balasan bountiful. It had become not only an annual attraction, but a place where friends can gather for safe and fun visiting.

Balasan is a fourth class municipality in the province of Iloilo situated 134 kilometers north-east from City. It is politically subdivided into 23 barangays over a land area of 4,100 hectares. To get there is a two-hour and a half bus from the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Lawa-an, Jaro, Iloilo City.

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Balasan’s Home-Grown Favorite Turns 10

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