I was so excited when I was invited by childhood friend, Cha Borromeo to witness and be a part of the annual celebration of the Feast of the Ascension (Pista ng Pag-akyat) at the Villa Escudero Plantations and Resort in San Pablo City. I have to rummage on an early Sunday morning for a “Filipiniana” attire from my dresser and found one “Camiso de Chino”, a highschool-aged shirt which was promplty folded and with “Amerol”(a traditional way of keeping a cloth intact and clean by the use of cornstarch powder mixed with water). I even sent sms to Ate Ianne quoting ” I might scratch my skin due to the amerol-LOLZ”.
As I was driving on the fantastic scenery of coconut plantation, while nibbling on a McDonald’s egg and sausage muffin, (for my breakfast), I can’t explain the excitement I had inside of me as this is my first time to witness such a celebration. I can hear band playing and fireworks. I was welcomed by children dressed in Angel costume dancing, band playing lively music and guests wearing Filipiniana, they are indeed amazing.
I then proceeded to the Church for the Eucharistic Celebration. It was so solemn. A choir singing hymns accompanied by an estimated 30-piece orchestra. Everyone is dressed traditionally and it was really pleasant to the eyes. A procession followed the mass and the Image of the Holy Cross (Century-old owned by the Escudero Family) were paraded from the church to the Pavillion passing through the dam. I can smell the aroma of the Traditional Filipino dishes in the pavillion and makes me really hungry especially that I always look forward to the famous Pastel a la Villa Escudero topped with crust.(yum-yum). There were dances and rites performed after the Holy Cross reached the center of the Pavillion. It was remarkable that the emcee narrated the history of the ascension.
We were then served with a sumptuous and gastronomic dishes that I am unable to say no to. Fresh fruits and local pastries serve as desserts. It was just disheartening that during the festivity, a fire broke and turned the whole Coconut Pavillion into ashes. It was just fortunate that no one was hurt in then incident and the fire brigade did a fantastic job in containing such a huge fire in 45 minutes or less. Thank you for the abrupt response during this emergency.
To sum up, the experience is really fantastic. It made me more proud to be a Filipino. I realized more how rich our culture and heritage is. I wish that this traditions be practised more often so that the next generations will always keep it in their hearts that being a Filipino living in the Philippines, with all the political issues around, isn’t bad after all….
Mabuhay ang Pista ng Pag-akyat!Mabuhay ang Tradisyong Pilipino!