Ibajay Festival

I can never thank people enough. The Masangcay family has adopted me, and is giving me the chance to participate in this festival like a family member. I wear the family emblazoned t-shirts and walk and dance in the parade with them. 

The town comes alive! There are drums everywhere! There are drum bands on every corner - with at least a dozen marching drums, and large marching xylophones. They play non-stop. When one group takes a break, you can hear the others playing at the next street corner. It is intoxicating. Of course, once you add the copious amounts of alcohol that people pass around liberally, the effect is like a shot of adrenaline straight into the heart that lasts all day!!!! I can feel my heart racing and my feet moving and my body feels trapped in it’s corporeal form. 

Every family parades around the streets, proudly wearing matching shirts, accompanied by the loudest drum band they can put together. They go home and feast. Anyone can walk into any home and they will be fed and welcomed - or at least given some food to eat outside. No one goes hungry, and everyone is included. 

I went out alone, and met an old lady who's wrinkled face and missing teeth, made her so beautiful. I think that people that look like this have a story to tell. She stayed with me for a couple of hours, and took me all around the town. She was my best friend. She was my bestist, bestist friend. She held my arm and she went everywhere with me and took me all around through the market and she was my really closest companion best best best friend, She really was sweet and I think a little senile or maybe just an iddy biddy bit batshit crazy? 

In Ibajay, unlike Kalibo, there is a parade route. It goes around in a big square around the main streets of the town, and ends up at the main cathedral. There, they apparently put on a mock battle between the native people and the Spanish. I haven't gotten near enough to actually see the play.

This festival lasts two full days, and the bands are practicing for weeks before that! All month, there are Santo Nino festivals all over the Philippines. Each town has it’s own celebration customs. In Kalibo, the people dress in bright fluorescent colours, here, people mainly colour themselves black, and wear grass and other natural materials.
My best friend

All the girls twirl batons and do little dance steps - nothing sexist about that...

All the boys play instruments - mostly drums

Little Jesus statue with curly native Ati hair

Huge drum bands

everyone congregates outside of the central cathedral

The Masangcay family march - yes, we had a huge band too!

wonder where all your clothing goes when you donate it to be shipped to a poorer county? They sell it in the market.

Fruit at the Market

Open hanging meat at the market

what an amazing plate of fish!

People dress up like the native tribes and everyone acts crazy

People paint themselves black with charcoal from coconut shells

Native tribal people sometimes sell little things at the roadside while people dress up like native people and parade

little floats on the first day

Our band practicing

Our roasted pig - we had one each day