By FEDERICO A. ESPIRITU
This August 12-13, the Yerba Buena Gardens as well as selected prime streets of San Francisco will be in fiesta mood again. The long-running autumnal Pistahan will spawn another fun-filled weekend of seeing, hearing, tasting, dancing and experiencing anything Filipino in the City By The Bay. Sarimanok colors will flutter in the traditional parade until revelers converge at the sprawling grounds of the Pistahan Festival encore venue.
Filipinos lay endearing claim for being feast loving race. In the early days, fiestas were necessary breaks from working the verdant fields, casting the nets in abundant fishing waters or subsistence hunting. The advent of fiesta meant splitting open the bamboo piggy bank of Tatang and Inang, butchering the fattened swine and slitting free range fowls.
Daylong cooking churned out salivating native dishes pushed down by local brews and spirits. The best Sunday dress came out of the closet often reeking with alcamphor fragrance and stiff with Liwayway gawgaw. Most often nighttime was enjoyed at the plaza watching entertaining stage variety show that became buzzing talk of the town in the lingering laidback days before resuming backbreaking domestic and livelihood tasks.
Those were happy days of forebears that the next generations relive whenever and where ever they get uprooted from homeland. This became the compelling impetus in the spawning saga of San Francisco-Bay Area annual Pistahan elevated to American urbane setting, the largest of such genre of Filipinized feasting for all ages in the coast facing the Pacific. The spirit lives on as fitting respite from regimented rat race in an adopted nation.
In the age of blitzing social media, tech incursion and evolving pleasure forms, nostalgia rules.
For years, indefatigable Filipino-American festival volunteers under the herding of artist Al Perez ensure even months ahead that the every Pistahan will be an affair to remember and cherish. New offerings are brainstormed and transformed to joyful realities. The best in Filipino bayanihan spirit surges amidst ratcheting sacrifices, daunting challenges, meagre resources and sometimes embroiling organized anarchy but overcome with love for Filipinism. After all are thought, said and done, the sight is always focused on the next Pistahan revelry.
What makes this year’s Pistahan edge over the past ones? I will put the readers in suspended limbo. Dual Voice will not be anti-climactic. Just come and experience for yourselves our very own 2017 Pistahan Parade and Festival. A toast to your drinking, nibbling, humming, swaying, discovery and be merry Kababayans. Maligayang pamimiyesta sa lahat!