Our town fiesta in Bangued was celebrated on Washington’s birthday, February 22, every year. It lasted for one week. Booths for every town or municipality were built in the plaza, where all kinds of agricultural and handcraft products were exhibited and sold.
All kinds of vegetables, such as squash, eggplant, ampalaya, papaya, beans, beets, radish, cucumber, corn, parsley, pepper, etc., were displayed and sold after prizes were awarded for the largest fruits or roots, or leafy vegetable, etc.
Animals, such as goats, sheep, pigs, horses, cows, caribou, chicken, ducks, geese, doves, and birds were also displayed to receive awards and were sold later on.
It was a sort of County Fair, where gambling tables were set up, programs were held on the Kiosk, or entablado in the plaza, and parades were held.
Games with prizes were held. Horse and bicycle races with heavy bets were conducted.
There was the greased bamboo pole to climb, with a pot of coins at the top as prize. Then we had the pot of gold that dangled at the end of a rope to be smashed by blindfolded kids.
Mg. Pastor and I made face masks by first molding a face out of clay and then placing on top of it several pieces of paper wet with rice paste, after which we painted them with water color.
We also made confetti to throw, while wearing masks, on the heads of the people. It was all for fun.
Beauty contests were held, with carriages or floats parading the winners around the town.
The town fiesta was a good chance to wear our best clothes. Mother used to buy me and my brother SEDAWASHINGTON cloth and have Nana Ulli, Pat’s mother, sew the cloth into shirts. And so that was a good time for my future mother-in-law to make money sewing clothes.
Many also ordered new slippers, and so Father and Mother made money on that occasion.
As shoeshine boy, I also made money during the fiesta.
Many barrio people and mountain people came down to attend this fiesta with their costumes, such as the Tingians with their display of beads and the Igorots with their colorful bahag or G-strings. They came down to sell whet stones and forest products like “litloko” and lipag, or “bollogo.”
When I was in the P.M.A., the whole family, led by me in a staff car and the children in a 6×6, attended a town fiesta.
I played tennis matches with Bobby in the plaza as one of the many expeditions. Bobby cannot forget how the thirsty players chopped the big watermelons with a karate chop and distributed the broken pieces to everyone.
At that time I was playing the new style of serve and volley, which the players of Abra were not familiar with. And so I won all my tennis matches by just smashing the ball, weakly returned after my strong service. I was then a tennis instructor in the P.M.A. and I was wearing a P.M.A. T-shirt.
We went back to P.M.A. with a truckload of calabasa, which Pat sold to the P.M.A. mess hall, and a bamboo “PAPAG” bed.