A yearly event in the neighboring town of Alaminos, the feast of Our Lady of the Pillar is pretty much the same when I first encountered it seven years ago: merry but religiously grounded.
A late decision to come and see the activities on the exact feast day led us into snail-pace traffic in going to the town proper. This was expected because the national highway (Maharlika) passes right through the town proper and all the buses, trucks, public and private vehicles had to give way to the crossing visitors and spectators to the festivities.
In the heart of the town the last mass of the day was conducted in town church just as dusk settled. This was followed immediately by a procession of the image of the lady fronted by a very enthusiastic marching band. The procession pushed through despite the rising noise from the streets outside the church grounds. It was good to see that the night programs were no longer held on the stage found just outside the church gate. It would have been very difficult to navigate through that particular area. Instead vendors covered the sidewalks, displaying their wares ranging from plastic toys, to souvenir wallets, to linen and clothes.
It is a must that you visit the perya. Composed of a few rides, games, and a multitude of tiangge, perya as a whole somehow defines the general mood of the people–one of merriment. Here one can win a few kitchen wares or toys by displacing tin cans placed at a distance using balls or by throwing coins and putting them inside squares of different sizes on a wide board. Truly Filipinos find such little pleasures an integral part of our religious festivities.
It would probably be worthwhile to revisit the place and follow the activities leading to the October 12 feast day. Hopefully next year.