musings on a town fiesta....a time and a place to remember....
By Gloria Ong
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time. “
T.S. Eliot -- "Little Gidding" (the last of his Four Quartets)
somehow the quote from t s eliot above reminds me of hometowns,
this time, your town infanta whose fiesta you celebrate on 25 april,
the feast day of st mark. st mark's the patron saint of notaries
and his symbol is the lion.
there's always an enigmatic air around hometowns and infanta's no exception:
an enterprising mosaic of distinctive cottage industries--lambanog production, buko, charcoal, coconut oil...
a captivating tapestry of townsfolk religiosity and culture--misa cantada, procession where folks at home
pray as they light candles on their windows, nonstop comedia for two days, the simple carnival joys --ferris wheel, karera ng daga, mga magpeperya, beto-beto...on the church patio--itinerant vendors of penoy, balut, gulaman, nilagang mais, other kakanin...
our legendary hospitality and friendliness as townsfolk share with one another the customary fiesta fare of morcon, embutido, beefsteak,
kare-kare, lechon and other delectables, not just with guests but also with priests in the convent.
reminds one of a t s eliot quote:
to arrive where we started...
and know the place for the first time.
we're hit by nostalgia: home is where it all begins.
after having sought better lives elsewhere, trying to find one's niche, enriching nooks and crannies of
this interconnected planet, reconfiguring families
at the same time preserving our own culture and identity...
as brains may start to atrophy on this the second act of our lives, we ponder:
where have we been...how far have we come?
stop for a moment then and think,
are we no longer the people who left our hometowns many moons ago
or are we still?
friends from infanta: as you recall it was the infant jesus after whom the town was named
and you summon images of faces you once knew, emotions you once felt,
memories of those you once loved...
surprise yourself: savor how good today really is
after all, who's to say
you could be happier than you are right now?
so, here's to all of you, infantahin:
enjoy your town fiesta, do eat a piece of cake
may GOD bless us all. . .
RUDY ARIZALA’S COMMENTS
Ka Gloria captured the elusive nostalgic memory of one who left his hometown many moons ago and still dream of days gone by of his youth how town fiesta was celebrated. And we started again where we began our journey to seek what lies in the outer world beyond the confines of our hometown bounded on the West by the forbidding long range Sierra Madre mountains, and on the East by the shimmering blue waters of the Pacific placid - as the old folks of the town described the sea - “parang hinipo ng bulag”- so tranquil that even a blind person could feel with his bare hands its tranquil waters - but sometimes angry with noisy tidal waves dashing against the sandy and rocky shores.
We started where we began many moons through our memories of days and experiences gone by, of parents, families, relatives, friends, townfolks we left behind and then when town fiesta comes around those memories like in a rewinded cassette we see again and even feel the persons, the atmosphere, as well as the environment we left behind. The image of St. Mark to whom many prayers and petitions were directed; songs offered; the long town procession which seems to have no end through the narrow and dusty streets of the town, muddy and full of puddles during the monsoon. The entertainments offered by the townfolks rain or shine such as the komedya, the beto-beto, ferris wheel, etc.
Ka Gloria aptly summarized such experiences and memories in a few words which remain etched in the hearts and minds of those who had the privilege and opportunity to read them.
I hope she would not mind if I reproduce her musings on a town fiesta for posterity and for everybody to read thru the MIF Website.