Sunday, December 16, 2012

Zarraga’s PANTAT Festival Turns 9

A little music, a mess of fish in the fryer, some shade trees, a cool breeze --- that is a great way to spend an afternoon and that is what Ilonggos will enjoy in Zarraga, Iloilo.

Make tracks for Zarraga this week and get your appetites ready. The 9th annual PANTAT Festival takes place from December 16-23, 2012. Come out, join the festivities and have yourself a great time.  Food vendors at the festivity do their best to pay tribute. Fest-goers sample from a variety of catfish dishes. Enjoy the games and activities; there is something for everyone. 

Events get underway with the Opening Program on December 16; all the catfish recipes you can handle and of course, eat some of your favorite catfish recipes on December 17 with their Pantat Cooking Contest; December 18 is for the Search for Lin-ay Sang Pantat: the Pasundayag highlights December 19; Daycare Family Day on December 20; Band Performances on December 21; Disco Derby for December 22; and the much-anticipated Tribal Dance Competition on December 23.

The municipality of Zarraga’s PANTAT Festival had its beginnings in early 2003 when a small group of individuals discussed the possibility of establishing a local event to promote their local produce, pantat (catfish). Many in the town depend on fishing for their livelihood, and catfish is king of their local fishing industry.

The town was long-time experiencing a thriving industry in the field of aquaculture — specifically, farm raised catfish centered in the area. This growing industry presented itself as an excellent theme around which to build a festival. The festival would publicize the industry, but more than that it could be a great instrument to promote Zarraga The potential of such an event had been realized.

The festival promotes the small businesses and local trade within the municipality. The municipal government also works within the local communities to promote this local event and its activities in an effort to drive customers to their peaceful town.

In 2011, the municipality’s Pantat Festival joined the Aliwan Fiesta in Manila and took home the first runner-up spot. The festival is one of the two Ilonggo festivals that competed in Aliwan Fiesta, a competition among the best festivals in the Philippines. It was Iloilo city’s Dinagyang Festival that brought home the grand prize. Pantat Festival is now considered as one of the best of all the country’s festival.

Zarraga’s PANTAT Festival has come a long way since its beginnings. Yet, as the event continues with its 9th annual run, it remains true to its roots — family‐friendly fun, entertainment and delicious, hot, farm‐raised catfish.

Whether you are a proud catfish fisherman, a terrific cook or just love to eat the delectable favorite, Pantat Festival in Zarraga is the place to be.

The municipality of Zarraga is located in the northeastern portion of Iloilo and is composed of 24 barangays. To get to Zarraga, one can take a jeepney at the Northern Central Iloilo Terminal, Inc. popularly known as Tagbak Terminal in Jaro.

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