Philippine Culture: June in the Philippines

June sees students going back to school. From worrying about how to keep kids busy and what to feed them when they are at home, parents move on to worrying about homework and what to give their children for baon.

It is kind of strange that the start of the school year is also usually the start of the rainy season. Every year, there are calls to move the opening of the school year to another month but of course, they're just calls. With the rainy season comes diseases like dengue, flu, leptospirosis -- so when in the Philippines at this time, do take extra care.

School kids keenly watch out for the announcement of typhoon signals as these dictate whether classes will be suspended. There have been changes in the rules quite recently. Elementary students, for example, will only have classes suspended if the typhoon signal is 2. Previously, with typhoon signal 1 only, grade schoolers would already be off from school.

June is typically the month for weddings in other countries and here in the Philippines, "June brides" also get some mileage. There are bridal fairs and numerous features on brides and weddings in magazines although in our country, December and January are the months when most weddings actually take place.

The third week of June sees the celebration of Father's Day too -- something we have patterned after the rest of the world. Younger fathers are now more involved in the raising of kids and in various family activities and chores though providing for the financial needs of the family is still topmost in the scale of things. More wives/mothers work now, though, and so division of labor at home becomes of greater concern.

As for the celebrations for the month, June 12 marks our country's independence day. Typically, there are programs and celebrations across the nation -- in places like Rizal Park, the Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite, etc.

June 24, there is a Parada ng Lechon (or roasted pig) in Balayan, Batangas. This is done to commemorate the feast of John the Baptist. The lechon is a type of native food where the pig is roasted till the skin is brown, succulent, and crispy -- while the meat is soft and tender. This is usually served with liver sauce -- which is sweetish. Lechon tastes real good!!!!but may not be too healthy when taken in huge quantities too frequently. Watch your blood pressure and your cholesterol levels.

Also, be careful when in the San Juan area on June 24. You might get wet! Residents in the area also celebrate the feast of John the Baptist by throwing water at you -- although I don't think this practice is as widespread as before.

[By Angelica Viloria | Thursday, June 30, 2005]

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