CALACAtchara Festival is a food, fruit, and religious festival in Calaca, Batangas, Philippines every October 24. It is held as a recognition of atchara, a dish made from pickled papaya that the town is known for. A ten-day affair, it opens beginning in October 10. Simultaneously, it is also the patronal feast of St. Raphael the Archangel and thus culminating activities fall on October 24.
History of CALACAtchara Festival
CALACAtchara Festival was launched in October 2005 within the term of then Mayor Sofronio Ona Jr. Its name is made from two words: the name of the town, Calaca, and the Filipino dish called atchara. The event was conceptualized to boost the promotion of the dish.
Atchara is created from young, green, unripe fruit of the papaya tree. The simplest version involves sliced thinly or shredded papaya and soaked in a mixture of water and vinegar. Added to the recipe are the aromatics: garlic, onion, and ginger. It is seasoned with salt and a dash of sugar.
Some recipes would require some time for marination, though it can be consumed once prepared. The blend of the sweet and the sour can become a great combination with the crunch of papaya slices.
It is most frequently served as appetizer. In fact, it is often referred to as the most popular appetizer in the Philippines, and it can take into many forms as each locality or household has their own version. It can also be served as a side dish.
The fest was suspended in 2020 and 2021 because of the threat of Covid-19. It was revived in 2022.
Religious festival of St. Raphael the Archangel
The event is also a religious fiesta of St. Raphael, the patron of the town. The image is enthroned in the Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of St. Raphael the Archangel.
The town of Calaca was founded on May 10, 1835. In 1841, the church was constructed led by Diego Inumerable, then the governor of the town. It was completed two decades later in 1861, which was also the same year it was declared a parish.
CALACAtchara Festival Activities
Religious activities of the fest starts with the daily novena prayers and Holy Eucharist for nine days that starts in October 15. The opening event is the Caracol de Rafael, which is a procession in Barangay Salong and then proceeds to a fluvial procession. During the feast day in October 24, a pontifical mass is held.
Secular activities occur alongside the religious observance. There are job fairs, sports, entertainment and variety shows, competitions, concerts, and presentations. Another mainstays are the Binibining CALACAtchara, a beauty pageant, the court dancing competition, and the street dancing competition.
How to reach Calaca, Batangas
From Manila, the town of Calaca in Batangas is about 100 kilometers away. The land trip is going to take over two hours.
- The Zestful Calacatchara Festival of Calaca, Batangas. Wow Batangas. October 7, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2022
- Genalyn Pantoja-Rubian, Sophia Alexandra Furagganan. CalacAtchara Festival 2012: It’s more fun in Batangas. The Philippine Star. October 28, 2012. Retrieved December 22, 2022
- Kathleen de Villa. This Week’s Festivals: Oct. 14-20, 2018. Philippine Daily Inquirer. October 14, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2022
- Ang Calacatchara Festival ay inilunsad noon Oktubre 2005 na ang pangunahing layunin ay itanghal at paunlarin ang atchara, ang nangununang produkto ng Calaca. Philippine Information Agency. October 8, 2009. Retrieved December 22, 2022
- Sibyl Layag, Miguel R. Llona, and Judith Torres. Revisit the stories behind 7 heritage Batangas churches this Holy Week. Bluprint. March 7, 2018. Retrieved December 22, 2022
- Atchara. Panlasang Pinoy. Retrieved December 22, 2022