Animals, real or not, took the spotlight away from the beauty pageant contestants during the Pahiyas Festival. This fiesta honours St. Isidore the Labourer, the patron saint of farmers; hence it was expected that the real star of the festivities is the carabao. It is the farmer's best friend after all.
Aside from the freely walking carabao (Bubalus bubalis carabanesis, domesticated water buffalo), smaller live animals also abound; only this time, they were mostly birds and rodents, all inside cages. These animals prove to be popular with children who hope to have their own pets.
Then there were the stuffed toys -- monkeys and bears, mostly -- that are part of the decorations. I don't recall seeing these in last year's Festival but these were apparently the hip thing to add to the decor this year.
Balloons abound this year as well. These were no longer the multi-coloured orbs floating the air. The balloons in the Pahiyas Festival took a variety of forms: there were dalmatians, fish, zebras, rabbits... all anchored to the street vendor by strings.
This year's Pahiyas festival definitely had a boost thanks to the colourful animals (real or not). The colours of the animals could rival the kiping decoration!