On June 24th each year, Catholics around the world celebrate the feast of Saint John the Baptist.  John is known for baptizing Jesus. In the Philippines, it is tradition on ‘San Juan Day’ to repeat the ritual of baptism by pouring water.   In places like San Juan and Cavite City in Metro Manila, people take part in a city wide water fight. The festival serves as a religious and spiritual purifying rite to the people. Anyone who visits these towns on this day cannot stay dry. Even cars and motorcycles are targeted with hoses and buckets. While the water festivity is simultaneously celebrated in numerous places, what ensues in Balayan, Batangas is amazingly unique. In Balayan, the ‘Parada Ng Lechon,’or parade of roasted pork, features at least 50 pigs being carried through the crowded and water soaked city streets. The national food of the Philippines, lechon is typically cooked for special occasions, such as weddings and barrio fiestas.  On this particular holiday, the pigs are dressed in party attire. It is not unusual to see a pig on a spit, dressed in a swimsuit, sunglasses, wigs or even a raincoat. During the parade, people may even throw water and beer over the traveling lechons. People do not shy away from reaching out and sampling the roast pig’s deliciously roasted crispy skin and tender meat. To prevent the lechon from being eaten before the end of the parade, some are covered in barbed wire. Others graciously give away chunks of meat to the screaming crowd. On San Juan Day, Catholic mass is held at participating Catholic Churches. In the nearby city of Lian, Batangas long lines of church-goers wrap around the buildings. Vendors call out to potential buyers, offering candles, trinkets, toys, and holiday foods. By noon, the water fight has ended and people are focused on prayer and other festive activities with family, friends and neighbors.

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