The day started with the pitiful sound of a pig being readied for slaughter and ended with "Alone Again, Naturally" from the Video Singko from across the street. In between were the seemingly endless stream of people weaving in and out of houses, the beer-and-brandy-induced laughter, the neighborly exchange of fiesta fare and, much later, the wobble and shake of those who have had one drink too many.
Today is our tiny village's fiesta, and not even austerity nor the threat of Typhoon Hagupit could get in the way of tradition. Yesterday, there was a parade along our otherwise quiet streets, and the reigning village beauties waved and smiled their way under the scorching midday sun. For nine days, we trooped to the neighborhood chapel for the novena to the Virgin of Penafrancia, in the same way that the more worldly among us trooped to the improvised cockpit right on our block.
I must admit that I am new to this fiesta thing. We did have our share of fiesta fever in the old house, but between moving to Manila and beyond and coming home for good,what the fiesta was for was lost on me. It was only when I moved to this tight-knit, neighborly community four years ago that I realized that the fiesta was for thanksgiving, for celebrating life and all its gifts.
"Alone Again, Naturally" is not really the appropriate finale to this happy, happy day.