Gastronomic performances during festivals in a philippine locality

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Gastronomic performances during festivals in a philippine locality

  1. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Food is considered a very important part of festivals as they account for one of the biggest tourist expenditures. </li></ul><ul><li>Hall et al. (2003) reported between 32 and 66 % of tourists either purchase or eat local food during their visit. </li></ul>
  2. 3. <ul><li>Between 61 and 69 % of holiday makers and visitors to South West, Cumbria, Yorkshire and the Heart of England claimed to recognize the positive contribution of food to their holiday. </li></ul><ul><li>Aside from food products that are sold to tourists, potential tourist attractions are gastronomic performances during festivals. </li></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>Food culture plays a distinctive role in people’s everyday lives and a central part in economic, political and cultural matters (Adele-Andrew, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Philippine festivals are a living testimony to the over three centuries of Spain’s colonization of the country. </li></ul><ul><li>This explains why most festivals are anchored on Christianity, as majority of Filipinos are Catholics. </li></ul>
  4. 5. <ul><li>While Spanish in nature, the fiesta was embraced by the Filipinos as if it was part of their indigenous culture. </li></ul><ul><li>They have successfully blended its lavish and religious character with their local tradition oftentimes held in honor of a patron saint. </li></ul><ul><li>Central to fiestas is food. </li></ul><ul><li>People spend on food to entertain guests. </li></ul>
  5. 6. <ul><li>From the food served on the table, fiestas provide well-to-do families the opportunity to re-assert their status in society. </li></ul><ul><li>Generally though, fiesta serves as a class equalizer since everybody is welcome to partake of the food that is laid down on the table. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>What is more interesting however are the performativities or rituals that accompany food preparations and the solidarity that pervades as family members and people in the community interact with each other. </li></ul><ul><li>Fiestas truly showcase the character of the people in the community. </li></ul>
  7. 8. Problem of the Study <ul><li>Does the food culture of the locality has continuously remained to showcase the true character of the people? </li></ul><ul><li>Has it evolved through the years? </li></ul><ul><li>What are the contestations of the local folks with tradition, modernization as shown by the different gastronomic performances? </li></ul>
  8. 9. Objectives of the Study <ul><li>1.) to historicize the gastronomic performances of a lowland municipality located south of Metro Manila, Philippines during its major festivals and; </li></ul><ul><li>2.) to illustrate this historicity as the community’s food performances of their continuous engagements with Christian narratives and other cultures’ food performances. </li></ul>
  9. 10. <ul><li>3.) To determine whether or not, these gastronomic performativities can still be regarded as a true reflection of locality’s food culture despite possible infusions of other cultures through the years. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Research Methodology <ul><li>Purposive sampling was used to select respondents based on their knowledge and/or their familiarity of the local food culture </li></ul><ul><li>The participants were comprised of selected locals, ranging from cooks to simple folks and teenagers. </li></ul>
  11. 12. <ul><li>The ethnomethodological approach identified the ways in which people construct meanings for themselves in their everyday lives. </li></ul><ul><li>The participative observation enabled the researchers to develop an emic perspective by joining the locality’s major celebrations. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of data culled from the narratives of relevant informants from a series of visits in the locality </li></ul>
  12. 13. <ul><li>Intermittent visits to observe the daily lives of the people of the locality. </li></ul><ul><li>A local “informant” was regularly consulted for a detailed description of the locality’s food culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Conduct of a Focus Group Discussion to validate data </li></ul>
  13. 14. <ul><li>Listening to and/or participating in the conversations of informants and the locals as they go about their daily activities </li></ul><ul><li>Data analysis involved surfacing of embedded meanings, symbols and values from the production and consumption of meals and food products central in the celebrations </li></ul>
  14. 16. Holy Week Celebration <ul><li>The Holy Week is the </li></ul><ul><li>culmination of the Lenten </li></ul><ul><li>Season which starts 2 </li></ul><ul><li>weeks before the Holy Week. </li></ul><ul><li>This is capped by Good Friday which is “ritualized” as a fish and vegetable day to commemorate the 40-day abstinence of Jesus in the Jordan desert. </li></ul>
  15. 17. <ul><li>However, there are some observed non-compliance with the meat-less menu in the community’s pabasa. </li></ul><ul><li>The pabasa ng pasyon ( reading of the passion ), is a lyrical narrative of the passion of Christ that is performed during the Holy Week. </li></ul>
  16. 18. <ul><li>Food is also a very important “ritual” instrument in the pabasa performativity . </li></ul>
  17. 19. <ul><li>There are occasions however, when sponsoring families disregard the Catholic norm, and serve meat dishes especially when they have visitors or relatives from the city. </li></ul><ul><li>Cannel (1999) considers this practice as a manifestation of cultural irregularity and irony in the locality’s food culture. </li></ul>
  18. 20. <ul><li>Thus, the types of food produced and consumed during the Holy Week reflect any of the following: </li></ul><ul><li>a. as compliance to the teachings of the Church; </li></ul><ul><li>b. as a homecoming treat and; </li></ul><ul><li>c. as a show of status/class of the sponsoring family </li></ul>
  19. 21. <ul><li>Judith Goode (1992) explains, “food items are frequently associated with particular social statuses and are selected accordingly,” </li></ul><ul><li>More interesting in the food performativity of the local folks is the community’s concept of non-exclusive , indigenous food performances . </li></ul>
  20. 22. <ul><li>Their delicacies are products of </li></ul><ul><li>evolutionary borrowings and </li></ul><ul><li>adaptations from their </li></ul><ul><li>continuous engagements with other cultures. </li></ul><ul><li>These were eventually established however as local prides (Guevarra and Gatchalian, 2007). </li></ul>
  21. 23. Feast of St. Isidore (Agawan Festival) <ul><li>The feast day of San Isidro Labrador on May 14 coincided with the coming of the monsoon </li></ul><ul><li>Spaniards introduced the carabao and plow to the islands which the farmers saw as gifts of the titular saint. </li></ul>
  22. 24. <ul><li>No other invention has done more to lighten man’s daily work (…) </li></ul><ul><li>“ With the plow, the Filipino graduated from subsistence to surplus farmer releasing other members of the community for other pursuits. </li></ul><ul><li>The Agawan Festival is the climax of the locality’s May Fiesta. </li></ul>
  23. 25. <ul><li>Also called Bagakay Festival, it uses </li></ul><ul><li>bagakay or bamboo </li></ul><ul><li>poles to adorn </li></ul><ul><li>houses and streets. </li></ul><ul><li>Kiping or rice krispies and other edible stuffs such as candies, fruits, etc. are hung on them. </li></ul>
  24. 26. <ul><li>More interesting however are the gastronomic performativities during the festival. </li></ul>
  25. 27. <ul><li>It is an occasion for </li></ul><ul><li>social solidarity, elegant </li></ul><ul><li>creativities, artistic </li></ul><ul><li>competitions and food </li></ul><ul><li>spectacles </li></ul><ul><li>This validates Joaquin’s (2003) articulation that a stereotypical fiesta celebration is characterized by its extensive and detailed preparation. </li></ul>
  26. 28. <ul><li>In homes, kids artistically craft agricultural objects into ornamental objects in deference to St. Isidore: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Showing the elegance of the </li></ul><ul><li>crops harvested is a way of </li></ul><ul><li>paying homage to the </li></ul><ul><li>greatness of the patron”, </li></ul><ul><li>an informant interjected. </li></ul>
  27. 29. <ul><li>Typically, food is a very important ornament in a Filipino fiesta and in other celebrations. It is also the most time consuming in terms of preparation. </li></ul><ul><li>Most houses are usually decorated with food – vegetables, fruits, among others. </li></ul><ul><li>It is through this manner that they are able to reflect their petitions and intentions to have more bountiful harvests . </li></ul>
  28. 30. <ul><li>Most Catholic communities believe that the food offered to guests is not the family’s preparation per se but as the patron saint’s offering to the folks. </li></ul><ul><li>In rich families, food preparation is conducted during the whole week using hired kusineros (cooks). </li></ul>
  29. 31. <ul><li>Other well-to-do families subscribe sometimes to the services of food caterers. </li></ul><ul><li>Still other families seek the help of relatives and friends from other towns in the food preparation. </li></ul>
  30. 32. <ul><li>Middle class families usually prepare food together during the eve of the fiesta. </li></ul><ul><li>Family members are assigned to specific foods. </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the dishes are already of foreign origin. </li></ul><ul><li>This validates Fanella Cannell’s (1999) notion of cultural identity as dynamic and in constant flux. </li></ul>
  31. 33. Conclusions and Recommendations <ul><li>The food performativities during the two festivals are deemed as irregularities, ironies and ambiguities of the local food culture. </li></ul><ul><li>They are products of the folks’ continuous negotiations with several relationships and engagements. </li></ul>
  32. 34. <ul><li>These include traditions of other communities, religions, folklores and individualities. </li></ul><ul><li>These social facts are seen as incremental in the fluidity of the locality’s culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Given this interesting character, it is recommended that these performativities are highlighted when formulating food tourism packages for the community. </li></ul>
  33. 35. <ul><li>To make a “culturally-based” tourism packages sustainable, the local stakeholders should also be involved. </li></ul><ul><li>This will include preparation of the local folks to interactive visits of tourists in their homes without feeling invaded of their privacy. </li></ul>
  34. 36. <ul><li>The maintenance of the food rituals/performances’ authenticity should also be emphasized to the locals so as not to dilute the true character of their tradition. </li></ul><ul><li>In general, this study’s framework can serve as a guide for researchers who would like to embark on studies on food culture. </li></ul>
  35. 37. Guevarra, S.V. shirley_guevarra2001@ yahoo.com . Gatchalian, C.F coragatch@gmail.com Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management University of the Philippines

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