Category Archives: Festivals


imageSan Francisco, California – It was an agreement four years in the making, oftentimes marred by shouting matches among city hall officials, representatives of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, merchants and homeowners.  But the Halloween party in San Francisco’s gay Castro district finally returns in 2014.

It will be recalled that the Halloween bash attracted as many as 500,000 each year and has become a major tourist attraction, second  and third only to the Pride parade and Folsom Street Fair.  Stabbing and shooting incidents, believed to be perpetrated by straight revelers, prompted city officials to permanently ban the event beginning in 2010.

As part of the agreement, the “new” Castro Halloween will be open only to members of the LGBTQ community who will have to register with city hall and be included in a “gay registry.”  Registrants, who will take an oath admitting that they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning, will be issued special identification cards linked to the official registry.  The IDs will be the only accepted pass to gain entry to the Halloween event. ID’s will be scanned at entrances to the event to confirm that individuals are listed in the official registry.

Get ready to say “Boo!” Again.


Manila – On the feast of St. John the Baptist on June 24, pigs took to the streets of Balayan, in Batangas province of the Philippines to protest what they called centuries of torture and sadism inflicted upon them by local residents.

Roasted pigs being paraded in previous year's festival
Roasted pigs being paraded in previous year’s festival

Each year, Balayan holds the Parada ng Lechon, (Parade of Roasted Suckling Pigs), dressing the porkies in outlandish costumes ranging from Superman to Queen Elizabeth. “We’ve had enough,” the pigs’ leader proclaimed. “We will no longer tolerate being skewered and burned in fire pits, then treated like Mattel dolls.”

As residents were waking up at dawn to butcher the pigs and begin the tedious roasting process, hundreds of pigs broke off their bamboo pens and blockaded the main street and route of the annual parade.  Police were called to disperse the pigs, using tear gas to calm the protesters, but to no avail.

The mayor of Balayan had no choice but to cancel this year’s festivities and vowed to turn the traditional parade to an all-day karaoke competition capped by a beauty pageant — among humans, beginning in 2014.

All’s well that ends well.