Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin
Balasan, Iloilo will highlight its culture and gastronomy with the celebration of the annual Lechon Festival with scheduled events from July 5-26, 2019. The event serves as a platform to showcase Balasan lechon as well as generate increased awareness of its lechon makers.
Lechon is a major delicacy of Balasan and has become a staple during celebrations in the town, apart from being a tradition.
The festival, now on its 11th year, highlights the simultaneous roasting of the pigs where visitors can immerse themselves through the entire preparation process of this home-grown favorite and see how it is made from seasoning to roasting at the coal pit on the main street of the town scheduled this year on July 22, Monday at 8 a.m. followed with a boodle fight and thanksgiving at noontime. The savory aroma, perfectly crispy skin, and the flavorful tender meat of Balasan’s lechon will surely be irresistible to visitors and guests.
In Filipino food culture, lechon is one of the most popular dishes always present in every grand feast of each household, commonly served during special occasions such as birthdays, fiestas, anniversaries, and holidays. Lechon paksiw is one of the easiest ways to deal with the leftovers, only needing to add lechon sauce and some herbs and spices.
The festival started on July 5 (Friday) with the Colorful Fun Run and Unity Walk serving as the Opening Salvo at 5 a.m., Agro-Industrial Fair, Invitational Pigeon Race, Pamukaw kag Hirinugyaw at 7 p.m., Opening Salvo with Represent Band and the Official Launching of Lin-ay sang Balasan 2019 candidates at 8 p.m.; July 13 (Saturday) People’s Day Opening at 8 a.m. with Blood Letting Program, Job’s Fair, LGU Free Services, Advocacies and Activities, Live Band and Stand-up Comedian Atak Arana and Bugoy Carino; July 14 (Sunday) Balasan Got Talent Season 8 Elimination Round at 3 p.m.; July 19 (Friday) Pre-pageant Night of Lin-ay sang Balasan 2019 at 7 p.m.; July 20 (Saturday) Motorshow.
July 21 (Sunday) Opening Parade at 1 p.m., Presentation of the Fiesta Queen 2019 and DXC Exhibition; July 22 (Monday) 11th Lechon Festival at 8 a.m., Boodle Fight at 12 noon, Basketball Exhibition at 3 p.m., Barangay Night at 7 p.m.; July 23 (Tuesday) 12th Cara-Gwapa Festival with Cara: Flora Filipina at 7 a.m., LGU Night at 5 p.m. and Foam Party with Live Band at 9 p.m.; July 24 (Wednesday) Balasan Got Talent 2019 Season 8 at 1 p.m. and LGPC Alumni Homecoming at 7 p.m.; July 25 (Thursday) Laro ng Lahi and Lin-ay sang Balasan 2019 Grand Coronation Night at 7 p.m.; July 26 (Friday) SK Street Dancing at 10 a.m. and Coronation Night at 7 p.m.
Balasan is a Fourth-Class municipality situated in the northeastern portion of the province. It is 128 kilometers away or almost a three-hour drive north from Iloilo City and is bordered in the north by Carles; in the south by the town of Batad; in the east by Estancia; and in the west by the town of Pilar in the province of Capiz. It has a total land area of 4,100 hectares that is politically subdivided into 23 barangays.
Balasan is populated by 33, 088 (2015 Census on Population) Balasanhons. Market day is every Thursdays and Sundays. It annually celebrates its Religious Festival every 26th of June in honor of Sta. Ana.
To get to Balasan, one can take the bus at the New Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Municipal Tourism Officer Cecil Crisme –at 09177753522.