There is no Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and if not for the small meal prepared with a few other Peace Corps volunteers my Thanksgiving might have passed by unnoticed. Stories of pilgrims and Indians and the combination of turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy are completely unheard of here in the Philippines.
But the lack of large Snoopy balloons is easily made up for in the excitement of traditional Filipino fiestas. I recently attended the MIMAROPA festival which is a regional event (one step below the Super Bowl for fiestas comparatively). The displays of costumes and dancing could rival cirque du soleil!!!
After watching this parade through the streets we filled into an outdoor stadium and watched each team’s elaborate dance routine. Romblon’s presentation began with a marble quarrying enactment to the intimating booms of traditional drum accompaniment. Other provinces showed history of Spanish arrival or daily practices like catching fish or growing corn.
Best of all, I didn’t even realize the festival was happening or was such a big deal until the day of (I had traveled to Calapan City for a work conference). Not Macy’s or football but definitely an incredible display of talent – costumes, dance, and drums!