Winners of the float parade received cash prizes and plaques of recognition during the Lechon Festival in La Loma, Quezon City on Sunday, May 21. (Diann Calucin/MANILA BULLETIN)
The local government of Quezon City revived the celebration of the Lechon Festival in La Loma, Quezon City on Sunday, May 21, after a three-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Simula 2000, tuwing ikatlong Linggo ng Mayo, ipinagdiriwang natin ang Lechon Festival dito sa La Loma. Sa kasamaang-palad, pansamantala itong natigil dahil sa pandemya. Kaya naman ngayong, ginawa nating mas makulay, mas bongga at mas masaya ang ating selebrasyon sa Lechon Capital of the Philippines (Since 2000, every third Sunday of May, we celebrate the Lechon Festival here in La Loma. Unfortunately, it was temporarily halted due to the pandemic. That's why today, we made our celebration more colorful, more lavish and more fun in the Lechon Capital of the Philippines)," Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte expressed.
La Loma Lechon Festival was first celebrated in 2000 when Monchie Ferreros, former president of Laloma Lechoneros Association (LLA) and owner of Monchie's Lechon, launched the "Parada ng mga Lechon."
The celebration was fully supported by the city government in 2002 through the enactment of City Ordinance 1221-2002, or the ordinance declaring La Loma as the Lechon Capital in Metro Manila.
"Maituturing nating haligi na ng mayamang kultura ng Quezon City ang La Loma. For 50 years, hindi maikakaila na isa ito sa mga pinaka dinarayong destinasyon sa QC at sa buong Metro Manila (We can consider La Loma a pillar of Quezon City's rich culture. For 50 years, it is undeniably one of the most traveled destinations in QC and in the entire Metro Manila)," QC Tourism Department Officer-in-charge Ma. Teresa Tirona also said.
This year's Parada ng mga Lechon was composed of marching bands and at least 20 floats with colorful and creative designs.
Diann Calucin/MANILA BULLETIN
Belmonte, First District Representative Arjo Atayde, and members of the LLA awarded cash prizes and plaques of recognition to the winners of the float parade.
Mila's Lechon bagged P25,000 cash for placing first place, while Mang Tomas Native Lechon received P15,000 in second place, and P10,000 to Monchie's Lechon in third place.
A trivia game was also held for residents where free t-shirts were given to anyone who answered the trivia questions correctly.
Some lechon stores distributed vouchers, coupons, and tickets for free and discounted lechon meals.
According to Corazon Delos Reyes, owner of Mang Tomas Native Lechon, they distributed 200 tickets for free lechon meals.
She said her store was established in 1952 and is one the oldest lechon stores in La Loma.
Each lechon store also joined in the first "Lechon Cooking Festival" to showcase dishes made from lechon leftovers like dinuguan, sisig, and paksiw.
"Hindi kumpleto ang birthday, graduation, anniversary, o binyag kung wala ang lechon. Kaya dito sa ating lungsod, ibinibida at ipinagmamalaki natin ang "star" ng mga selebrasyong ito (A birthday, graduation, anniversary, or baptism is not complete without lechon. So here in our city, we are proud to call it as "star" of these celebrations)," Belmonte added.
Diann Calucin/MANILA BULLETIN
The festival also celebrated the 100th feast day of La Loma District’s patron saint, Nuestra Señora de Salvacion.
Meanwhile, Belmonte vowed to provide subsidies and funds from the city government for a bigger celebration of La Loma's Lechon Festival in 2024.
Belmonte said that in 2020, through City Ordinance 2961-2020, the city officially declared La Loma District as one of the Tourism Districts of Quezon City to attract more tourists and boost its economic activity.
"Ang ibig sabihin nyan kapag ganap na tourism district na po tayo, mayroon na po tayong pondo na nanggagaling sa local government para taon-taonang pagdiriwang ng Lechon Festival. Nagkataon na noong 2020 nagsimula ang pandemya kaya hindi po tayo nagkaroon ng celebrasyon ng tatlong taon (What that means is that when we become a full-fledged tourism district, we will have funds coming from the local government for the annual celebration of the Lechon Festival. Coincidentally, the pandemic started in 2020, so we didn't have a celebration for three years)," the mayor explained.