Hello there again, peeps!
I’m back again with another festival experience her in the Philippines! Honestly, this one was unfamiliar to me. I plan to attend festivals at least once a month while staying here in my home country, and while searching, I discovered another festival somewhere in Southern Luzon, which is in Calaca, Batangas. The town was unknown to me as well, and far from where I live (4 hours travel time), not to mention that super typhoon was about to hit Luzon by that time, but it didn’t stop me from visiting that place.
Atchara is a famous appetizer or side dish in the Philippines. Usually paired with fried or grilled foods like fish and meat. Unripe (green) Papaya as the main ingredient, grated and pickled with other spices, normally placed in a jar.
The municipality of Calaca in Batangas started this festival in 2005 and on its 12th year of commemoration during the reign of then Mayor Sofronio C. Ona, Jr. Promoting their outstanding product which is the Atcharang Calaca, a very well-known side dish in every Calaqueño’s dining table for every occasion.
Last October 15th, they started their 10-day celebration with a Caracol de San Raphael in honor of their town’s patron saint, st. Rafael Archangel. Remember my Angel Festival blog post? Yes, it’s the same saint! Though I noticed that the feature of their saint in Calaca has a very dark skin tone and compared to San Rafael, Bulacan’s, they have a younger version. The celebration in Bulacan and Calaca have different dates, I don’t have any idea why, but I am glad because I was able to attend both festivals (yey!). And of course, since it was more than a week long happenings, they have different events like Binibining CalacAtchara (beauty contest), ABC (Association of Barangay Captains) night, float parade, drums and lyre band competition, Agri-Fair and exhibits, and my favorite part of every festivals, their Street and Court Dancing Competition.
It was October 19th that I traveled four hours to witness this event. I was not sure how long my travel time would be and I thought I was too late! But since there were 28 schools who participated on the street dancing competition, I was fortunate to still able to take some good photos! Yes, you’ve read it right! 28 schools! And of course, it’s all about their very energetic dance moves and exhibitions, with their vibrant and lavish costumes and props.
Click here for more photos!
How to get there:
There are two places in Manila where you can ride a bus going to Calaca, Batangas. It can be in Buendia or Cubao bus terminals.
You can ride a bus going to Lemery or Balayan. Be mindful that they are two separate towns and Calaca is in between. So if you choose to ride a bus going to Balayan, ride a jeepney bound to Lemery, and vise versa. Then ask the driver to drop you off the Calaca public market or to the street leading to their municipality office.
Did you know?
Caracol or Karakol is a religious dance procession (usually by the old ladies wearing colorful outfits), on the eve of the feast day of the patron saint of a town. My grandmother used to be a member of Mananayaw (dancers)! I remember that they had colorful uniforms and looked really pretty! Although this tradition usually held only in some of the provinces like my province Bulacan.
But wait, there’s more!
Since I really, really love Atchara, and I grew up with my Lola (grandma) making it whenever we have occasions as well, I will share you her recipe! This is different from Atcharang Calaca but you will definitely like it as well.
ATCHARA ALA ENYANG RECIPE
- 3 cups green (unripe) papaya, shredded and squeezed out the juice
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 medium-sized red onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 tbsp diced carrots
- 2 tbsp red bell pepper, julienne
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
Put vinegar inn a saucepan and bring to boil. Add a tiny bit of water depending on how sour you want your vinegar. Set aside and let it cool.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the vinegar.
Add in the vinegar gradually. Mix thoroughly then place inside a jar or container.
Ready to serve as a side dish for fried or grilled food!
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