Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dauin Fiesta



If you visit the Philippines for any length of time, you are likely to witness a Fiesta celebration in a local community. Fiesta is a tradition wide spread throughout the Philippines. Dating back to the time when Spain ruled and dominated the local culture, Fiesta is a unique Philippine take on a European concept. It is regarded as a time to return home and visit family, a homecoming of sorts. Festival is also a time to share your wealth, even if you are poor, with your friends, family, and fellow villagers. This could mean roasting an entire pig and inviting the neighbors, or even sharing a small amount of rice and fish. Festivals happen all through the year, and each community has their own unique date. The larger municipalities usually have parades with elaborate costumes put together by each Barangay. These parades are a prelude to what is called here a “showdown” or competition between the ornately adorned dancers. These showdowns are elaborately choreographed production numbers often with as many as 100 participants. The music is the best part for me. The musicians play percussion instruments, drums of all sizes and make up. Many of the instruments are hammered from steel drums, others are modern band instruments. The rhythms are complex and high energy, influenced by native sounds dating back hundreds of years.

One of my favorite fiesta competitions is in Dauin, a small town just south of Dumaguete. For my tastes, it has the right mix of smallness and well organized competition. Each Barangay tries it’s best to outdo the others with the elaborate native inspired costumes and bone shaking percussive accompaniment. Dauin is a small but wealthy community with a history dating back many hundreds of years. There is an old Spanish mission on the town square which dates back to the time of the early European colonists. Everyone in the larger community participates in some way. All the schools have bands which march in the parade. Even elementary schools have bands with elaborate costumes. Music is a large part of Philippine culture and daily life.
In the Philippines no Fiesta week would be complete without one modern addition to the festivities. That is the nighttime disco. Most towns have an outdoor sports complex which often also serves as the home for a local church or Barangay hall. The basketball court (which sometimes is the Sports Complex) is transformed by traveling DJ’s with high powered amplifiers and speakers. Large sophisticated pulsating Disco lights are strung up overhead on a jury rigged web of poles and wires. Presto! You have a disco. Everyone in town goes to the disco. Ma, Pa, and the kids. If you are a stranger, you won’t be for long. People will try to get you dancing to ensure that you enjoy yourself.
fiesta, you will come away with not only a full stomach, but perhaps a greater appreciation for the true hospitality and friendly attitude of the Philippine people.

5 comments:

jellyfish said...

Very nice pics. Gives a perfect impression of the Fiesta. Thanks

RHB said...

Thanks Jelly, I took over 300 photos, getting down to the ones you see was a job! It looks like I was close in many of the dancing shots. In reality, I am taller than everybody here using a 200mm lens, jus shoot over their heads!

John Sy Tan said...

Great photos Dude! Got an idea how Dauin has changed overtime. I was born in Dauin actually but got most of my education in Manila.

These fiesta photos are much better than the previous ones I saw in another site. Plenty of them.

Are you a European or American married to someone from Dauin?

Kudos again for the effort you spent to have these great photos webcast

francis antony jr said...

Nice shot's here...got some pix as well for i was there last year's KINAIYAH FESTIVAL. Hopefully be back again this year's Fiesta...see you there...prince_fanjr

Kareen said...

Nice Picx.... i never thought that i have missed so many fiestas already...

I hope to come home next year...