The Parada ng Lechon (roasted pig parade) a festival you must see in Balayan Batangas. The celebration is held annually on June 24, and the feast day of San Juan (Saint John the Baptist).
Lechon is one of Batangas delicacy, and even in other provinces in the Philippines. It’s a main dish most batagueños have for celebrations or fiestas. According to the old villager, lechon was served before the Spanish arrived in the Philippines. The dish became a symbol of Batangas tradition to serve lechon during celebrations.
The pig is placed on a spit, charcoal placed on the side of the pig, in a roasting pit. The pig is baked, while wiping the skin with brush made of leaves with water and the pigs own oil or fat. This procedure makes the skin crispy, and roasting it for at least 5 hours.
Now it's time to dress the lechon. The dress will depend on the theme the social organization has chosen for the annual event. After dressing the pig, clear plastic is wrapped around the pig to prevent the lechon to get wet during the parade.
When the lechons are ready, they are brought to the church of Immaculate Conception. Participating lechons or roasted pigs will line up the church patio while a mass is being celebrated and blessed in honor of St. John the Baptist.
Dousing of water during the festival is to signify the baptism of Jesus by St. John the Baptist. The festival is a religious ceremony for the villagers of Balayan. It also gives a place for trade-off to happen.
Now, the parade and merry making starts on the streets of Balayan. While the parade pass by the streets, bystanders will drench the participants with water. Bystanders are even free to take a piece of the lechon while on parade. These make the occasion exciting and extraordinary.
When the parade is over. It is now time to munch the lechons, a celebration of drinking and feasting follows all through out the day. But be extra careful, the lechon is rich with cholesterol and might put your health into trouble.