Thursday, August 30, 2012

Iloilo Province Celebrates Tourism Month with the 8th Tumandok

University of San Agustin tourism students at the Janiuay cemetery for their Tuamndok field work

The Iloilo Provincial Government through the Office of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism with the Department of Trade and Industry, the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association, Business Counselors League of Iloilo and Robinsons Place Iloilo will hold TUMANDOK: Iloilo Product Expo at the fountain area and ground circle of Robinsons Mall on September 3-8, 2012.

Tumandok, is local Hiligaynon term means “a native of,” is the annual tourism month celebration of Iloilo Province that will bring together attractions, products and culture in which participating municipalities of Iloilo province partner with tourism students from different tourism universities in the city.

trying their hand at Nang Palang's Buco Pie in Oton with the University of San Agustin tourism students

The municipalities of Anilao, Ajuy, Badiangan, Banate, Barotac Viejo, Batad, Duenas, Dumangas, Guimbal, Igbaras, Janiuay, Lambunao, Leganes, Miagao, Oton, San Joaquin, Tigbauan and Passi City with tourism students from the College of Hospitality Management of Central Philippine University, College of Arts and Sciences-Tourism Management of the University of San Agustin and the College of Management and Accountancy of the University of Iloilo-PHINMA will be this year’s participating exhibitors.

CPU tourism students inside Mari-it Conservation Park in Lambunao

Months prior to the event, tourism students were exposed on field to document the different attractions of their assigned municipalities. The planning stage involved meetings with their tourism officers and various tourism stakeholders as to prepare them for their promotional activities during the event. The festive display and selling components of the event in both the fountain and ground circle areas of the mall are attention-getting initiatives of participating partner municipal tourism offices and students manning the areas.

The celebration starts on September 3 with the soft opening of the OTOP (One-Town-One-Product) Fair by the Department of Trade and Industry at the ground circle of the mall. The booth exhibits will open on September 4 at the fountain area at 4 p.m. with an opening ceremony featuring tourism key players from different government agencies with a musical performance from Ritmo Tambores by Tribulandia Arts and Crafts. A mini-fashion featuring Project Zero, Nautilus tarp bags by International Lifestyle Designer, PJ Aranador will hit the runway on that afternoon.

September 6 at 4 p.m. will feature the tourism students as they sashay on the runway with Tumandok accessory fashion show featuring the woven products of Miagao, Oton, Badiangan, Duenas and Janiuay. A cultural presentation on September 7 will showcase the indigenous people of Sitio Nagpana in Barotac Viejo. The closing ceremony will be on September 8.

The Provincial Tourism Office with the Department of Trade and Industry will exert every effort to ensure the success of this undertaking as it firmly supports the various tourism program of Iloilo province anchored with its mission of generating a living for every Ilonggos through tourism. So it should come as no surprise that when it is time for promoting Iloilo, the provincial and municipal government do not waste a single minute. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Perfect Place for Peaceful Getaway in Barotac Viejo

the flower garden at Ulysses Valdez Farm, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo

If you are looking for moments of solitude in the fast bustling city life, what you need is a trip to Barotac Viejo, Iloilo which will bring you peace and closeness to nature. Leave all your worries home and plan your trip to its farm resorts because you deserve a break. These farm resorts are dedicated to the concept of “back to nature” which includes nature living, nature food, nature cure and nature farming.

The Ulysses Valdez Farm

The Ulysses Valdez Farm is a tourist farm resort privately owned by Dr. Ulysses L. Valdez. It is situated in the scenic Barangay of Rizal, 6 kilometers away from the poblacion of Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. It is one of the closest accommodation stop-over in the northern portion of the province. It prides itself on being a family-friendly resort with many activities available for both parents and children.

rambutan plantation at the farm
Spread over 14 hectares of land surrounded by varieties of fruit-bearing trees, coffee plantation, fish pens, flower gardens, plant nurseries and poultry and cattle areas, the resort presents a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere that is ideal for mediating, reading and writing. Visitors can also spend some time fishing or taking nature walks through the property.

The resort also is a perfect coffee plantation retreat where the adventurous and curious traveler will experience the history and cultivation of coffee in the area.

Hike through lush verdant coffee plantations with their knowledgeable guides and while partaking in its coffee tour you will learn the intricacies of growing coffee found in this eco-friendly farm resort. The farm grows robusta type which is easier to care for and has a greater crop yield than the other major species of coffee. Because of this, is cheaper to produce. Robusta is usually limited to use. It is a filler in lower-grade coffee blends. It is also often included in instant coffee. Its good quality beans are used in traditional Italian espresso blends to provide a full-bodied taste and a better foam head. 

Come and enjoy the beauty and adventure of the farm, its fresh country air, wide open spaces and evenings relaxing by the veranda in the resort pavilion. With warm days and cool nights, it has been a traveler’s delight, despite the day time temperature rising, the evenings are still cool. The abundant beauty of nature needs to be seen to be believed.

the 3-room farm resort
The resort presents an ambience that is in tune with the rural surroundings. The resort is equipped with three fully air-conditioned, functional cabin style rooms in a style that befits the environment of a farm.

The resort has a pavilion that can be an ideal venue for small seminars, meetings, banquets, and family retreats. To know more about the resort, please contact Hon. Merelyn P. Valdez at 09298366075/ 09228267231/ 09065556375 or at telefax (033) 3620208.

The Balboa Farm

If you are looking for moments of solitude in the fast bustling city life, what you need is a trip to Barotac Viejo, Iloilo which will bring you peace and closeness to nature. Leave all your worries home and plan your trip to its farm resorts because you deserve a break.

The 4.7 hectare Balboa Farm is situated at Barangay Vista Alegre, 7 kilometers from the poblacion. The farm resort established two years ago is an ideal place for people who wish to spend a restful, pleasant vacation in the farm. It is a concept planned and developed by Mr. Mike Balboa as a retreat area for his family. It has become popular among Barotacnons as a getaway destination amidst vivid greens far from the hectic life schedules. Wide expanse of greens, cool breeze, soothing ambiance, abundance of fresh light, clean air, nature with numerous activities under the sun to give visitors a new lease of life and rejuvenate their senses.

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Balboa Farm offers activities and adventures to fulfill your every desire. Find yourself on a relaxing nature hike. Glide down mountain byways through their custom zipline measuring 37 feet in height with a length of 130 meters. Be as active as your heart desires by enjoying their firing range, horseback riding and fishing. Enjoy playing football and volleyball in their well-trimmed fields. It has areas for fruit bearing trees and coffee. It has a pavilion that can accommodate 50 persons for small group activities.

For those who would wish to stay overnight, the owner has five (5) small cottages and can also provide cottage with tents. To know more about the farm, come and visit Tumandok on September 4-8, 2012 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information about the farm, please contact Mrs. Lorie Ann Dumdum-Municipal Tourism Officer, Barotac Viejo at 09995796398.

Barotac Viejo is currently experiencing fantastic growth and interest as a tourist destination in the province of Iloilo. The town hopes to offer everything visitors could want in privacy, beauty and breathtaking views. Come discover Barotac Viejo’s best kept secrets. To get to the town, one can take a bus at Tagbak terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City.

Sitio Nagpana: Indigenous Tourism of Barotac Viejo

The Aeta community of Sitio Nagpana lies in Barangay Lipata, 12 kilometers from the poblacion of Barotac Viejo. The community lies hidden from view to those visiting the area.

Everything about the Aeta community reflects sensitivity to the environment and respect for the area's traditional Aboriginal owners since the 1950’s. Early settlers were said to have come from the neighboring provinces of Antique and Guimaras. The sitio covers 938 hectares of verdant forest land where 200 hectares is identified as a “reserved area” for its watershed and 40 hectares is intended for housing and its school. Presently, it has a population of 741 aetas living in 168 houses.

photo by JV Perez (PALI)

Framed by stunning mountain views, it is home to Nagpana Falls where guests can enjoy a host of activities revolving around it, while still having time to explore the spectacular scenery surrounding the community. It has a pavilion with two rooms that can accommodate overnight stays with ten persons per room. It has toilet and bath with running water coming from a hose that is connected from a spring situated on the upper portion of the Nagpana Falls.

Visitors to Nagpana have the privilege of touring through indigenous guided- walks with a knowledgeable Aeta guide in the person of Mrs. Raquel Mateo who provides insight in to the Nagpana landscape and can enhance their experience through a showcase of its indigenous craft of nito-weaving.

The nito vine is a richly-colored tropical vine coming from the fern family. It is a forest vine that grows as a secondary forest cover clinging to trees and rocks. The vine must be gathered first then exposed to sunlight to dry. As a vine material, it does not need to be treated by soaking, scraping or hacking processes to enhance its natural beauty and color. The elements are mostly flat flexible strips popular for in matting.

The weavers of Nagpana uses this to produce baskets, hats, bags, coin purses, leis, coasters, placemats, bracelets and even rings. It is even used as inlay material for table tops and furniture accessories exported abroad. Weaving nito is this aeta community’s primary means of increasing their income. The Nagpana Nito Weavers Group established in 2005 is currently made up of 42 members.

The indigenous Nagpana people are very much aware of their cultural and natural heritage and the roles it plays in their daily lives. Thus, their identity as a community is primarily dictated by the heritage resources that they are blessed with.  

With indigenous tourism, we must understand the important role we play in the wider community and the need to maintain good relationships with all of our stakeholders including indigenous and community groups, non-government organizations and government authorities. 

It is essential for policy makers of to set the limit of tourist activities in fragile sites such as Nagpana where their cultural rights within its well-preserved environmental setting should be enforced by law.  The numbers of tourists must also be strictly controlled as well as strictly regulate tourist behavior by instituting clear and strict rules regulating tourism activities in the community.  These regulations should be community-derived and transparently enforced.  Profits must be kept in their community. The tourism industry should understand the regulations and the reasons for them, and be satisfied that the fair and equitable enforcement of the rules of these rules, and well as the uses of the revenues levied from the industry are used to promote the industry through the development of necessary infrastructure.

Tourism practitioners must focus on raising the cultural awareness among their policy makers and the community members, and in having a clear understanding of the impacts and risks of tourism development. With a good understanding of the cultural resource and its economic potentials, the local government can plan on how to best attract tourist revenue while sustain its heritage resources, in particular, and the support the services that the municipality is required to provide to sustain tourism.

The municipality of Barotac Viejo has many resources, both cultural and natural, that make it extremely attractive for development as a tourist destination. Know more about the Aeta community of Nagpana in Barotac Viejo on September 4-8, 2012 at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo as the municipality supports the 8th Tumandok for the celebration of tourism month of the Iloilo Provincial Government. For more information, please contact Mrs. Lorie Ann Dumdum-Municipal Tourism Officer, Barotac Viejo at 09995796398.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sustainable Tourism through Small Scale Industries

Badiangan’s economy expands and develops in many unique ways, its backyard industries in particular have accelerated, fed by its own culture and a better accessible capital market. The town has such wonderful development in the whole area that the products they now promote are fast becoming an easier sell.

One of the main players in Badiangan’s backyard industries is weaving. Although many women still depend on subsistence farming as their main source of income, weaving has become a popular income-generating activity in the community. The weaving of the traditional fabrics is a skill that has been passed from one generation of women to the next for centuries. It has traditionally been, and still is, important in this municipality. Today, the cloths provide a valuable source of income for women in an area where unemployment is prevalent. The fabrics are especially valued because they are used in traditional cultural events and festivities. In Barangay Cabayogan, around three kilometers from the poblacion, the production of hablon and patadyong is done almost on a full-time basis. Formerly, weaving was strictly a woman’s activity, but now men are involved. The Cabayogan Womens Loomweaving Association has four (4) encouraging members that gains self employment and assisting others. To carry out the development activities there are looms for every weaver in the weaving center. This two year association is currently headed by Mrs. Mae Anata.

A very good source of income as inter crop with fruit trees. Banana is a good source of regular weekly or monthly income for the farmer’s family. Millions of farm households all over the country depend on banana as their source of income. Banana is still the leading fruit crop in terms of area, volume and value of production. It is a widely grown fruit in many province and is planted as a component of their farming system or as a main crop. Among the wide range of products that could be produced out of bananas, banana chips is considered to be the most marketable product. This product is processed in small scale by rural households and sold in the local market. Growing bananas for banana chips production has become more lucrative agribusiness in the area. Chips are the most commonly consumed first generation snack foods. They are used as snack food both in domestic as well as in fast food centers and restaurants as side dish and as garnishing. Moreover, the product can be safely stored for up to six months without any change in quality. In Barangay Poblacion, the small business of banana chips has provided income to the family of Mrs. Hesusa Telebrado in the last 40 years. She consumes 30 kilos of banana daily producing 50 packs of chips sold at P30.00 per pack. Her chips business is also another source of income for several other business establishments in the area and neighboring towns. What makes her banana chips special is that is has n o preservatives, no artificial coloring and bananas are fried with care. Presently, she is also producing coconut strips and coconut balls we she sells regularly in the area.

 Bolo making is still one of the sources of income for the locals in the area, especially in Barangay Bingauan where 1/3 of the population in the area are craftsmen that make bolos. A day is spent in producing a single bolo. The men are doing all the hard labor such as the forming of the metal, while the women are the ones doing the hasiwas or the pumping of bamboo implements to the metal pipes to produce the air needed to continuously heat to the coal that is used to shape the metal.

These small-scale industries are the backbone of Badiangan’s economy. These small scale industries are skill based, wherein the skill for manufacturing is passed on from one generation to another. The municipal mayor, Hon. Suzette A. Mamon has supported the growth of tourism in the area through its small-scale industries because it will help the poor people of Badiangan to come up. These are not capital-based industries, but a talent and effort-based business. Badiangan has been gifted with adequate natural resource, so this is a favorable factor for the establishment and growth of small-scale industries.

The municipality of Badiangan is made up of 31 barangays over its 7,750 hectares land area. The town is located in the northwest central portion of Iloilo Province, 40 kilometers from the city. It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Dueñas; on the northwest by the municipality of Lambunao; the municipality of Pototan on the east; on the southwest by municipality of Janiuay; and the municipality of Mina on the southeast. To get to Badiangan, one must take a jeepney or van at the terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro. To know more about this town, visit the Tumandok exhibits on September 4-8 at the fountain area of Robinsons Iloilo.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

EPHRATHAH Farms in Badiangan: Revitalizing the Agriculture Sector through Tourism

One of the many reasons for the sustaining success of tourism in Iloilo province is its continuous efforts on improving its existing tourism products and innovating new tourism products. Eco-tourism is inter-sectoral in nature and has shown tremendous success. Iloilo, being an agricultural and fisheries dominated province, has tremendous potential for developing Agri-Tourism in a big way without much additional investment. There is a possibility of converting potential cropped areas of the province as tourist attractions with minimum intervention to transfer the benefits of tourism directly to the farmers. Such program is intended to prepare farms, plantations, fishponds around the province to receive tourists by presenting a positive image of the farm and of agriculture and fisheries as a whole, in view of revitalizing the agriculture sector of Iloilo through tourism.

Badiangan, Iloilo has a different type of attraction in its farm land situated in Barangay Sariri, 5 kilometers away from its poblacion. The EPHRATHAH Farms owned by Engr. Eddie Canuto is this town’s newest attraction where you will be totally detached from the noisy and crowded life in the city. Without any pressures of day to day life, you will surely enjoy your leisure time in this organic land.

This farm tourism site includes developing a 5 hectare farm for lakatan, red lady papaya and dragon fruit plantation and another 4.5 hectare farm for nursery, fishpond and an area for black and pink rice.  Presently, the farm area for tourism facilities is under construction of separate enclosures. Accommodation facilities for tourists and trekkers to the area will also be part of the owner’s construction project.

Most unique to the site is its dragon fruit plantation that is known to be the largest in the province. Not known to many, the dragon fruit, popularly known as strawberry pear and is endemic to Thailand, comes from a vining , terrestrial or epiphytic cactus with fleshy stems reaching from a few inches to 20 feet long for the mature plant. Its flowers, ornate and beautiful, only blooms at night and usually last just for a night where its pollination is necessary to set fruit. Often round and red-colored, its fruit has prominent scales with a thin rind that encloses a large mass of sweet-flavored white or red pulp with edible small black seeds. Varieties are of pink and yellow colors. It is popularly eaten chilled and is also used in flavored drinks and pastries.

Scientific study shows that 100 grams of the dragon fruit contains 0.9 grams of Fiber, 8.8 grams of Calcium, 0.61 gram of Fat, 0.012 gram of Carotene, 0.430 milligram of Niacin, 36.1 milligram of Phosphorus, 9.0 milligram of Ascorbic Acid, 0.229 gram of Protein, 83.0 grams of Water, 0.68 grams of Ashes, 0.65 milligram of Iron and 0.045 milligram of Riboflavin.

Dragon fruit can help lower the diabetes blood glucose levels when included in even moderate quantities in a typical diabetic diet plan meals. It is rich in antioxidants that help prevent the formation of carcinogenic free-radicals. Packed with vitamin C it ensures fast healing of bruises and cuts and helps improve the function of the immune system. It helps get rid of heavy metal toxins from the body. It is great for asthma and cough. It helps maintain and improve the health of the eyes. It prevents hypertension.

Another attraction of this farm is its medicinal herbal plantation is beautiful and beneficial. The farm spreads over a large area with its demonstrative herbal garden beside the pond. It has varieties of different medicinal plants on aesthetically designed herbal beds. It provides a walking place for visitors.

The farm’s goat breeding area has Boer goats, known to be one of the most popular breeds of meat goat in the world. They commonly have white bodies and distinctive brown heads or pink and possess long, pendulous ears. They are noted for being docile, fast growing, and having high fertility rates. Boer goats have a high resistance to disease. The farm also raises Anglo-Nubian goats, known for its dairy or dual-purpose. They have markings of any color, the ears are elongated, pendulous and floppy and the nose is Roman. They have high butterfat content for their milk, although on average, the breed produces less milk than other dairy breeds.

With 11 grow out ponds, the farm is primarily stocked with 1,500 Pangasius fish, 15,500 tilapia and 3,000 koi. The aim of the pond area is to educate the community, site where tours can be conducted. The fish and release pond at the other site is a great spot to relax with its floating cottage, a place where you wish to make the most of your out.

University of San Agustin sophomore tourism students for Tumandok 2012-Badiangan group

One of the most important benefits of Agri-tourism is that it helps boost the image of the agriculture sector and the creation of employment opportunities for the unemployed in the agricultural sector who otherwise opt for non-agricultural activities. Youths can be attracted towards agriculture sector that has long created important changes as far as Iloilo province is concerned.

The quiet town of Badiangan is 40 kilometers from the city and is situated on the west- central part belonging to the 3rd District in the province of Iloilo. It is composed of 31 barangays over its 481.12 hectare land area. It is bounded in the southwest by Janiuay; southeast by Mina; on the east by Pototan; on the north by Duenas and on the northwest by Lambunao. To get to Badiangan, one can take the jeepney or air-conditioned van at the terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro. Know more about Badiangan on Tumandok at the fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo on September 4-8, 2012. For more information, please contact, Miss Eva Esteva-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09186043100.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Eco-Friendly Experiences in the Sweet City of Passi

Passi City has carved out a name for itself as a destination for travelers seeking eco-friendly experiences in the province of Iloilo. The city provides travelers with an abundance of attractions about everything from organic restaurants to nature tourism and its cultural experiences. Its local government has gone further than just informing travelers about the variety of eco-friendly experiences available in the area, it has also helped raise awareness of Passi City as a visitor destination and eco-tourism experiences will increase visitors to its local eco-tourism attractions.

Come and visit Passi City and gain a greater appreciation for caves. It has 16 caves for those who wish to increase the depth of appreciation and understanding for visitors in the area. They offer both self exploring and guided opportunities. Whichever method of exploring the caves you choose, you are bound to be fascinated by this amazing underground world in the heart of Passi City.

the suspended bridge on the way to the cave with CPU tourism sophomore students 
for Tumandok 2012-Passi City group

The most popular cave in the area is an adventure to Dila-Dila Cave in Barangay Bita-ogan, 13 kilometers tricycle ride from the poblacion of the city. Getting to the area is fun, exciting and adventurous. Access to the cave is passing through rice fields and sugarcane fields. One has to pass through over a sturdy bridge about a foot in width just before a slope leading to a stream before getting to the cave entrance.

The cave is largely undeveloped and kept in a natural state.  Exploring its passage way will both challenge cave explorers physically and mentally. Compared to other caves, it is on the smaller size. In order to navigate through this cave, one is required to squeeze in, over and under through its narrow and dark passageway while submerging into the waist-deep water inside. It is a great experience able to show cavern enthusiasts something natural and unique. With nice cool air inside make it a great stop on a hot day. This cave tour is not for children and the elderly or those with limited mobility may have difficulty on the trails or in this cave.

Going organic was a bit hard in the past, especially when looking for products that we need for a total lifestyle change.  Others resort to making their own products because there was none available. With a growing consciousness for a healthier lifestyle, at least now we have it easier. 

MIDWAY in Barangay Bacuranan, 4.5 kilometers from the poblacion is a one stop organic and environmental shop, supplying fresh fruit and vegetables, dried goods, toiletries, organic skin-care. With a land area of almost 3 hectares, it is nearly all here, and if it is not just ask and they will endeavor to source it. They have been growing their fruit and vegetables and treating the property almost organically and using the biodynamic preparations for two years now.

It has a public organic farm that combines education, recreation and nature appreciation. Visitors can explore the farm on their own or with a guided tour upon request. It has a greenhouse with plant nurseries of popular local fruit-bearing trees such as atis, chico, duhat or lumboy, durian, guava, papaya, jackfruit, lansones, mangosteen, marang, santol, sambag, pomelo, rambutan, dalandan, bananas and mangoes. They also grow lettuce, basil, tomatoes, cucumber, rosemary and thyme.

The area also boasts of its fresh market and restaurant where it serves breakfast meals, lunch and snacks only. It also has a convenient store and pasalubong center. Everyone will surely enjoy its garden cottages built closely around its garden of fruits and vegetables, fishpond, chicken house and its mini-aviary. Midway has spacious parking areas, a very clean restroom and is wi-fi ready. Midway opens daily from 7 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. only.

Rosary Herbal Products in F. Palmares Street believes in the immense value of providing an alternative to mainstream medicine and have discovered that consumers agree with them. The company uses 90-98% organic herbs that are commonly found in farms, mountains and forest. Indigenous people attest the use of these herbs remedy their sickness and pains. Pharmaceutical chemicals used are very minimal, just as the base for the preparations of their products. Popular products are the Balanyos, Passi Herbal Vaporub, RHP Skin Disease Ointment, Q.C. Herbal Candle, Women Papaya Herbal Soap, Womean Herbal Bath Soap, Nature Herbal Lotion and Glutathione Soap. For more information, please call Ma. Tessie S. Pagay at telephone number (033) 3315186 or at 09208912095.

the CPU sophomore tourism students for TUMANDOK 2012-Passi City group

By promoting Passi City and its values, with respect towards its attractions and supporting its local produce, not only we help sustain Passi City’s local economy, but also share the richness of the area. Know more about Passi City at the 8th Tumandok on September 4-8, fountain area of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Mae Pojol-Buenaflor-City Tourism Officer at 09213543537 or at (033) 3116072.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

FIESTA IN THE CITY: A Celebration of Culture, Arts, History and Tourism

The region’s rich cultural history, traditions, and its provinces have brought out fun and original celebrations through fiestas, celebrated all throughout the year. There are so many of them. Some are of religious nature, others are historical, and all vary in style, but one thing remains the same, each celebration involved music, dance, and a great deal of lively spirit by its people.

SM City Iloilo is a busy yet serene mall, except when it plays host to annual events and tourism-related activities. Every May, the mall holds a week-long celebration known as Fiesta in the City in which many people attend.

Fiesta in the City is the longest running tourism celebration annually held inside a mall. Since 2002, Ilonggos know and crave the intense energy that pervades the Activity Center during the festivity. Many shows up to partake in the fun.

The fun began ten years ago when the mall tried to keep up with the decadent fiesta celebrations all over the region and partnered with the Department of Tourism Regional Office along with the different provinces in Western Visayas. Since then, it has evolved throughout the years into an amazing round-the-clock spectacle of all that is in this region.

The Activity Center turns into the celebration’s main “stage,” a place to meet friends, and where families stroll together, and everyone enjoys the presentation simply has a great time!

It is celebrated this year on May 16-22 and for those seeking more conventional pleasure, the week-long includes exhibits, music, dancing, colorful costumes and beauty parade. The daily activities are hosted by a provincial government or a town where each scheduled event has its own atmosphere and tradition.

The highlight of the event is the much-anticipated annual Sagala of Festival or Fiesta Queens. Known to be the only consistently celebrated Santacruzan in a mall in the region, this colorful religious and historical street pageant parade originally held in cities, towns and even barangays becomes the most colorful attraction of the mall during May. The luckiest queen gets to be escorted by a featured celebrity from Manila. Many movie and television personalities in the past have participated in the event and are featured as the only escort. This year, Enrique Gil, an upcoming dramatic actor from the teleserye, Mula Sa Puso will be the featured escort of the parade scheduled on May 22 at 3 in the afternoon.

Other activities include the dance performances from Badiangan Dance Troupe of the municipality of Badiangan on May 16 at.; a musical treat from Ritmo Tambores of Passi City on May 17; an afternoon of pure Ilonggo classic from the newly-organized rondalla group of Himig Cuerdas at Tiklado from West Visayas State University; a fashion show featuring Filipiniana gowns from designer Mandy Salcedo on May 19; the kids take centerstage with the Little Santacruzan on May 20; a Santacruzan-inspired design competition featuring local fashion designers is set on May 21. Showtime starts at 4 in the afternoon.

Despite the different themes, the sentiment remains the same. Fiesta in the city is an event to be proud of our common culture and for us to recognize everything that joins us, rather then dwell on that which separates us.

Don’t miss out this year’s great variety of cultural activities for everyone! See you there.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Igbaras Celebrates 6th Tangyan Festival

Tangyan Festival street dancing competition, photo by Julius Sollesta

The Festival of TANGYAN scheduled on May 16-23, 2011 is a time when the scenic town of Igbaras unites in recognizing the economic importance of its Tangyan River to its people. The river has functioned as the economic heartland where Igbarasnons are engaged in agriculture. As they say, the most fertile areas for farming are in the plains near the Tangyan tributaries where it provided irrigation water for their agricultural produce.

photo by Julius Sollesta

The festival is also dedicated to the preservation and protection of their cultural heritage and to be able to share them with the younger generation.

The River of Tangyan in Igbaras has played a fundamental role in the lives, history and culture of its people for many years. This waterway provides irrigation, potable water and fish stocks, supporting livelihoods in the area. Water from the river is a basic natural resource, essential for various human activities.

Tangyan River produces and supports the town’s extremely fertile soil. The rainy season further enrich the soil, as the river overflow its banks and deposit nutrient-rich silt over adjacent land. In this area, agriculture, as well as fish and shrimp farming are widely practiced by some. These activities constitute their sole sources of income or, in many cases, subsistence.

street dancers of Tangyan Festival, Igbaras, Iloilo, photo by Julius Sollesta

This year, with its humble preparations, the municipality of Igbaras through the leadership of their municipal mayor, Hon. Vicente E. Escorpion Jr. will celebrate the 6th Tangyan Festival with the theme, “Igbarasnon nga may Pagkabalaka, Pagla-um kag Dungog sang Banwa, Nagapanglakaton upod kay Sta. Rita.” Daily special events with start with a Fun Run at 5-7 a.m.; Opening Parade and Street Dancing Competition at 1:30 p.m. and the Opening of the Food Festival and Agro Fair at 4 p.m; the Igbaras Dance Revo caps the day at 6:30 p.m. on its first day. May 17 opens with the Adlaw Kang Tangyan through a River Clean-up and Tree-planting activity along the riverbank at 6:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.; the day ends with the Search for Little Mr. and Miss Igbaras 2011 with a cavalcade of dances at 6:30 p.m. May 18 is set for an Acrobatic Show at 2 p.m. and a Concert of Local Bands at 7 p.m. May 19 is full with a Medical Mission from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and the search for Lin-ay Kang Igbaras 2011 at 6:30 p.m. May 20 highlights the Gabi-I Kang Tumandok with a fashion show featuring their hand-loomed fabric, hablon by the Napulak Ladies Club at 6:30 p.m. May 21 opens with a Motorcross event at 7 a.m. and the Disco Concert at 6:30 p.m. May 22 welcomes everyone with its Procession to be followed with a Concelebrated Mass at 7 a.m., an evening of Disco is set at 6:30 p.m. The final day is for Dho Peds in Concert at 6:30 p.m.

Igbaras is a quiet town with a number of captivating tourist attractions that include waterfalls, caves, endemic flora and scenic mountain ranges. The town is bounded on the north by the Municipality of San Remegio of the province of Antique; east by the Municipality of Tubungan, Iloilo ; west by the Municipality of Miag-ao, Iloilo; south by the Municipality of Guimbal, Iloilo . The province of Antique is separated from Igbaras by the presence of its famous Napulak Mountain, known to be the highest in the area with the elevation of 1,200 feet above sea level. It is famous because it is shaped like a woman's breast with its massive coral rock formation on its top. It is very popular to mountaineers since they can get an eye-catching view of Iloilo and Antique provinces during sunset and the peak of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros Occidental on early sunrise.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Booming Abaca Industry of Janiuay

Long before the Spanish occupation, Filipinos have been growing Abaca. Endemic to the Philippines, it is a banana-like plant where its fiber is considered as the strongest among natural fibers and is commonly used for textile materials. For centuries, it has provided income to many Filipinos especially those living in the areas of Mindanao, Bicol and the Visayas.

Easily-grown in almost all types of soils and climate like ours, abaca is best grown in areas where the soil is rich in organic matter common in areas that are rolling to hilly or mountainous.

The municipality of Janiuay is now becoming one of the major abaca producers in Iloilo as production and interest from farmers to plant continue to improve. The industry in the town has improved as more and more famers especially in barangays Barasalon, Atimonan and Kanawilihan venture into abaca propagation.

The status of abaca industry is booming. There are now many farmers who want to plant abaca. The shift of interest of farmers to abaca is credited to its shorter maturity period compared to other high value crops.

The Tuburan Abacca Handicraft Association (TAHA) in barangay Tuburan, Janiuay, Iloilo is the leading promoter of livelihood projects on abaca production. Among its missions is to provide more employment and create more innovative products that will respond to the needs of its members and its market.

Organized in 2006, the association, then with 26 members started producing abaca fiber-based products that were marketed locally. It was in 2007 that the association became DTI-registered. At present, it has 33 members and presently headed by Barangay Captain Flora Ensolente. The association is currently producing fibercraft like mats, purses, bags, hats, placemats, high-grade decorative paper as art media, and all purpose decoratives perfect as gifts or souvenir items. The use of abaca fiber has long been recognized and the demand is continually growing.

Projects for the association are developed in partnership with other local government agencies. The municipal government of Janiuay work with government departments, local service providers and community workers to facilitate local planning and develop projects based on the needs of the community. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also pitched in by providing additional consultancy in the training and the transfer of knowledge and entrepreneurial perspectives of the community.

Abaca fibers are extracted by stripping off the outer sheath of the trunk of the abaca plant and pull out individual fibers. The length varies from three to nine feet or even longer, depending on the height of the plant. It is then stripped and scraped to remove the pulp. The fibers produced are then washed and dried. The color of the fibers extracted ranges from ivory white or in the shade of brown. The best grades of abaca fiber are fine and lustrous in texture; light beige in color and very strong.

Popularly known as Manila hemp in the international trade, 84% of the world’s abaca supply comes from the Philippines. At present, the country’s major markets are Japan, Europe, India, United States, the Middle East, and Korea. China is the biggest emerging market for abaca.

The abaca craft production project of the Tuburan Abacca Handicraft Association has gone a long way since it was launched with orders coming in from various parts of the province and the region. The municipality hopes more people will be interested in products that enable rural communities to see their livelihood in a different light.

Know more about Janiuay’s abaca production and its abaca crafts during the 8th Tumandok celebration on September 4, 2012 at the fountain area of Robinsons Iloilo. For more information, please contact (033) 5318719-Janiuay LGU trunkline and look for Miss Corel Locsin-Yap-Municipal Tourism Officer.

Celebrating Tubungan’s Colorful and Vibrant Cultural Festival

Tubungan, Iloilo on its 250th Foundation Anniversary will celebrate the 17th Tubong-Tubong Festival, the town’s tradition that runs ...