Compostela used to celebrate the Caballo Festival in honor of the patron saint of the town, Sr. Santiago de Apostol or St. James the Apostle. The word “caballo” is the Spanish word for horse. The Caballo Festival of Compostela is rooted on the portrayal of the loyal Apostle of Jesus riding a white horse, which is considered legendary and symbolic to the Spaniards. The essence of the Caballo Festival was unity, faith, development, and strength.
It is interesting to note that before the Caballo Festival was established, local authorities considered calling their festival the Queso Festival. It was rejected since it was unthinkable at that time for a dance demonstrating milking a carabao or preparing queso would become popular among the people. So, the concept was shelved.
The seven main dance steps showing the process of making the queseo are as follows:
- Limpyo - showing the act of cleaning the breast part of the carabao
- Puga sa Gatas - demonstrating the milking of the carabalo
- Sa-an - showing the act of screening the milk with a mesh
- Init kaldero - representing the heating of the cauldron with burned wood
- Huwad suka - showing the act of pouring vinegar to heated milk and stirring
- Hulma - demonstrating the molding of the cheese)
- Putos - representing the wrapping of the cheese with banana leaf strips