Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Grand Watermelon Display for the 7th SANDIYA Festival in Oton

photo by April Gail Valencia
Oton, Iloilo- The “Very Friendly” municipality of Oton offers travelers and residents alike an opportunity to experience their fairs and festivals each year. With the watermelon harvest season running from summer to December at its best, the Sandiya Festival rolls out the welcome mat for visitors and residents alike. The event gives an excellent reason to look forward to as the first smell of December hits the air.

The festival aims at providing the farmers a platform to discuss issues like marketing and promote watermelon cultivation. Though the farmers had a good harvest, marketing the produce was a problem. Oton is the largest producer of watermelon among all the municipalities of Iloilo. Growing watermelons is a big means of income for the people and its surrounding areas. Encouraging the horticulturists and facilitating market for their products is another objective of the festival.

The purpose for establishing the Sandiya Festival was to honor the many watermelon farmers for their outstanding contributions to the community. Secondly, to bring together farmers and visitors from all walks of life to enjoy and participate in watermelon events.

Since 2006, the local government unit of Oton, the Municipal Agriculture and Cooperative Office Oton Watermelon Grower’s Association (OWGA) and East-West Seed Company has hosted the Sandiya Festival, a day dedicated to promoting local watermelon farms that dot the rural town.

photo by April Gail Valencia
This year marks the 7th annual festival to be celebrated on December 6 at 1 p.m.. While only held a day in December, for the people of Oton, the festival is a nearly year round adventure. It is always a lively day of the festival full of watermelons, music, friends and fun will take place on the grounds of Oton Amphitheater Green. Games are provided by the organizers.

The highlight of the festival, the watermelon, play prominently into the festival; for weeks watermelon growers and farmers have been collecting and preparing their best produce known to be the best around.

photo by April Gail Valencia
The roots of the festival have not changed much. Activities were held on the grounds of the municipal plaza, featuring watermelon pie eating contests, watermelon relays, fruit carving and the “Pinaka” or judging watermelon entries for best and heaviest watermelon. In addition to displays of all types of yellow and red watermelons, there are educational displays of watermelon pest management, variety development, and everything you want to know about watermelon. There will also be watermelons for sale.

photo by April Gail Valencia
The celebration put together a festival with local growers and farmers, since they play a large part in the town. The festival was started promote the watermelon growers of Oton. The festival continues to blossom to this year. It is a celebration of the role the agricultural industry plays in their community, which includes watermelon. With a lot of improvements along the way, it has always managed to keep its hometown atmosphere.

The municipality of Oton offers travelers and residents alike an opportunity to experience their fairs and festivals each year. While some Oton fairs and festivals celebrate the culture of the town and help promote local agriculture, such as watermelon, others provide visitors with a look at the unique beauty Oton has to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    My client is interested to live in a place where watermelons grow in abundance. I just came upon Oton by chance. I have many queries.
    -Watermelon season is usually when?
    -Are there many places to stay in Oton thats safe for a lone lady to live?
    -Are there beaches in Oton?
    -is lettuce also available in Oton?
    -How much do you think she has to spend in terms of US$ for a safe, clean place to live plus food and other expenses?
    Thank you so much for your help


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