Balasan’s Home-Grown Favorite Turns 10

Balasan, Iloilo will celebrate Lechon Festival in a very festive affair on a quiet street fronting the town hall on June 20-26, 2018.  Photo by Bombette Marin
Balasan, Iloilo will celebrate Lechon Festival in a very festive affair on a quiet street fronting the town hall on June 20-26, 2018. Photo by Bombette Marin

Balasan, Iloilo will celebrate Lechon Festival in a very festive affair on a quiet street fronting the town hall on July 20-26, 2018. Activities include Cara-Gwapa Festival, Balasan Got Talent and Lin-Ay sang Balasan and with nightly live band performances.

Highlighting the festivity on July 20 at lunchtime is the Boodle Fight—a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are on top of the banana leaves and viands and rice are ready to eat using your bare hands.

Many visitors make the pilgrimage to Balasan every July, where they are always joined by happy throngs of locals enjoying some true Balasanon flavor. Balasan may not be as popular as its neighboring towns in terms of attractions, but it honestly has the best-tasting suckling roast pork in the entire province.

Balasan's Lechon Festival in Iloilo. Photo by Bombette Marin
Balasan’s Lechon Festival in Iloilo. Photo by Bombette Marin

Many will argue that their version of this dish is just as good as any out there. But the people of Balasan display a fierce territorial pride when it comes to their favorite pork recipe, and it is probably well deserved. The skin perfect crispy and herbed accompaniment to the moist and garlic-infused flesh within, certainly comparable to the roasted pig of Cebu or in the city if not better.

Organizers of the annual Lechon Festival started it 10 years ago as a theme-based offering of no-holds-barred Balasan cooking, a public, free-for-all roast and mixing this great local cuisine with good times and good music.

The main street is jam-packed and eventually becomes a standing room only. Almost everyone is there and are excited to be eating an authentically prepared and rare taste of the town: that crispy and polished skin, that juicy taste of its appetizing aft and meat, and the heavenly combination of crispy soft, and its smooth texture.

Lechon is a local delicacy well-loved by almost every Filipino. Photo by Bombette Marin
Lechon is a local delicacy well-loved by almost every Filipino. Photo by Bombette Marin

Lechon is a local delicacy well-loved by almost every Filipino. The lechon or the whole pig roasted dish blended with herbs and spices is always present in the best occasions of every Filipino homes like fiestas, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries.

Most people will recommend that you try Balasanlechón while you are here in Iloilo. There is a good reason it is among the favorite foods in Iloilo. Come and join the people of Balasan in celebrating this wonderful testament to the home-grown favorite.

Balasan is a 4th Class municipality situated 128 kilometers away or almost a 3-hour drive north from the city. Made up of 23 barangays, it is bordered in the north by Carles; in the south by the town of Batad; in the east by Estancia; and in the west by the town of Pilar in the province of Capiz.

To get to Balasan, one can take the bus at the New Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig in Haro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Mr. Cecil Crisme – Municipal Tourism Officer at (033) 3970296 or email at dpicrisme@gmail.com.