Tag Archives: Philippine fiestas

#351 Embutido

A slice of embutido

Embutido (Philippine Pork Roll)  is a Filipino celebration staple or meat dish derived from a Spanish meat roll recipe. In the Philippines one usually finds embutido served on birthdays, Christmas, holidays and other celebratory or festive days. One can describe embutido as a meat log or a meat roll, usually made from ground pork, stuffed with eggs and one or a variety of other meat-products, and studded with raisins and peppers.

The roll is a rich mixture of meat, finely diced vegetables which is steamed or left in the oven to warm. Embutido can be served as cold cuts. It is also best to dip a slice of embutido with your favorite food sauce.

Bon appétit!

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#221 MassKara Festival

The MassKara Festival is a week-long festival held each year in Bacolod City, capital of Negros Occidental province, every third weekend of October nearest October 19, the city’s founding anniversary.

The festival was born out of crisis in 1980 when the price of sugar cane, a primary crop in the province, plunged due cheap sugar substitutes in the US. In the same year on April 22 tragedy struck when the inter-island ferry boat Don Juan carrying many Negrenses, including those belonging to prominent families in Bacolod, collided with the tanker Tacloban City and sank, killing an estimated 700 people.

In the midst of these tragic events, the city’s artists, local government and civic groups decided to hold a festival of smiles, because the city at that time was also known as the City of Smiles. The word “MassKara” was coined by the late artist Ely Santiago from the word “mass” meaning “many or a multitude of the people”, and the Spanish word cara meaning “face”. A prominent feature of the festival is the mask worn by participants; these are always adorned with smiling faces. MassKara thus means a multitude of smiling face’.

The festival features a street dance competition where people from all walks of life troop to the streets to see masked dancers gyrating to the rhythm of Latin musical beats in a display of gaiety, coordination and stamina. (From: Wikipedia).

Mabuhay ang MassKara Festival!

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#168 Palo Sebo

WikiPilipinas photo

Palo sebo (greased bamboo pole) is a game usually held during Philippine fiestas to amuse both the young and old in an exciting race to grab the day’s prize.

A long bamboo pole is greased with pig fat from bottom up. Participants attempt to clamber up the bamboo pole on bare hands and feet to grab a flag or a prize tied to the top-end of the pole. Outside assistance is forbidden and those caught cheating are disqualified. 

Usually young children and teenage boys make the attempt to clamber up the greasy pole, but as logic dictates the first batch of participants will definitely have a tougher time since latter participants can benefit from a ‘less greasy’ pole. But often the pole is also grease with a newer coating for a fairer competition. If the grease proves just too much, a team of two to three boys usually make the climb atop each other.

Like other traditional or native games, palo sebo has became less popular and has been relegated to so-called folkloric games and activities. Too bad since this is a game that pays off to those young children who possess persistence and manual dexterity.

Mabuhay ang palo sebo!

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