Tomo 6
Numero 4
November 2004

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Come celebrate the Mango-Bamboo Festival
in Pangasinan

The lure of the sparkling blue seas and clear skies is hard to resist, and a good advice, don't resist.

Succumb and pamper yourself and your family with an adventure to the province of Pangasinan.

The province can be divided into two parts, but what is interesting to nature trippers is that the northwestern part borders Lingayen Gulf and the China Sea on the other part.  In the center lies portion of the Agno River.  Pangasinan is thus, a province blessed and cooled by nature waters.

Pangasinan has a colorful history. Limahong, the Chinese pirate, tried to put up his settlement on the shores of Lingayen, but he was turned back by the Spanish forces led by Juan de Salcedo.  The Spaniards stayed in the province and divided the place into six political subdivisions called "encomenderos".  Later, the province became an "alcaldia mayor" and in 1611 was officially declared a province.

Patriotism ran high among the residents of the province and several revolts occurred led by Juan Cagaray, Andres Malong, and Juan dela Cruz Palaris.  The Philippine Revolution in 1896 saw a lot of citizens signing up for the secret movement to become a Katipunero. They were led by a son of a province, Daniel Maramba.

The first Philippine Republic set up by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in Malolos, Bulacan was transferred to Pampanga then to Nueva Ecija, then to Tarlac and finally to Bayambang, Pangasinan after the outbreak of the Filipino-American War in 1899 where the general disbanded his army. It was there where he organized guerilla units against the American forces.

When Americans occupied the province, the first appointed governor was Perfecto Sison. During World War II, the Japanese forces landed at scenic Lingayen Gulf on December 21, 1944.  From there, they attacked and controlled Northern Luzon. It was also in Lingayen that the Americans attacked four years later and successfully carried out the liberation of the country.

Salt-making is one of its people's most important preoccupations, but this has taken a back seat to its more famous hundred Islands. In Lacap, Alaminos, the Umbrella Rocks at Sabangan Norte, the Blue Beach in Bonuan, Dagupan City, and the White Beach of San Fabian and the historic beach of Lingayen.

Hundred Islands abound with striped, blue and black marlin, as well as different specie of tuna. Some 2,000 species of marine life are said to swim in its waters. The most popular ones are the Turtle Islands, Children's Island, Milagrosa Island, Cathedral Island, Coral Gardens, Marcos Island and Romulo Island.

People of Pangasinan always celebrate the fluvial parade in Lingayen beach called the "Pistay Dayat" every first of May. Actually, it is celebrated all over the province especially on the seashore towns. What started as a Labor Day feast by the Americans now, has been turned into a thanksgiving day for a bountiful harvest by the rural folks.

DOT Regional Director Ernest "Jinggoy" Malay of Region I said that in 2001, Mayor Julian V. Resuello, who first assumed his term as City Mayor in 1988, may have been looking for something that the people all over the country would definitely associate with San Carlos in Pangasinan.

Why "Mango-Bamboo Festival"?  Why not Palayok Festival? And why not Banig Festival, since the City also produces in mass quantity earthen jars and pots and womenfolk in the rural barangay weave mats in commercial quantity?

It was called Mango-Bamboo Festival because the two products have a greater chance to compete in the world market.

The Mango-Bamboo Festival is not just meant to be a festival or entertainment event. Mayor Resuello has a much nobler vision than entertainment for holding such a festival. Adopting a method of needs analysis, Resuello saw the abundance and the quality of these two products as a strength and as an opportunity to improve the marketing and increase the earning capabilities of mango growers and those engaged in the bamboo craft industry, who, for lack of connection and access to exporter-traders, rely solely on middlemen-businessmen for the marketing of their products even at a price much lower than these deserve.

Finally, in April 2001, a strategy to showcase the Mango-Bamboo Festival was launched. And this is now what people looks forward to -- the Mango- Bamboo Festival Street Dancing -- the inherent love for fiestas of the Carlenans served as an inspiration for mayor Resuello to hold the opening salvo on the last Saturday of April 2001 when San Carlos City celebrates its annual city fiesta. Though Carlenans have had a taste of street dancing like the ati-atihan on special occasions, their response for the Mango-Bamboo Festival Street Dancing was entirely amazing and different.

In April 2002, more street dancing teams joined Mango-Bamboo Festival.  This time, the cash prizes were bigger to defray the cost of the costumes of the participants. The artist in every Carlenan surfaced and was evident in their costume and choreography. It was in 2002 that the San Carlos City government tapped the DOT in Region 1 and invited the DOT people to witness the festival.

Malay helped facilitate the invitation of Mayor Resuello to people from different national television networks like ABS-CBN, PTV4, IBC-13 and RPN and the local cable service provider, the JP Cable City, Inc. who all rendered their services for free.

Part of the Visit Philippines 2003 program of the DOT is the "Best of the Regions", wherein each region in the country takes turns at two-week interval in presenting tourism events as tourist "must see" or tourist destinations.  From March 18-31, 2003, Region 1 provinces were "stars" at Intramuros. For Pangasinans' cities/municipalities with "must-see" events are Mango-Bamboo Festival of San Carlos City; the Puto Festival of Calasiao; the Bangus Festival of Dagupan City; and the Galikayo of Manaoag. All these events are now included in the DOT's calendar of activities. (PNA / By Lynda B. Valencia)


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