Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Whole Bunch of Fun for Oton’s Annual Sandiya Festival

In Iloilo, one good way of keeping track of time passing is keeping an eye on which fruits are bursting at the seams on the tables of roadside stalls. And during the month of December, in the southern portion of the province, watermelons start to come into their season.

Watermelon. Everyone loves it. Watermelon had always been well-recognized not only for its healthy properties but most importantly its contribution to the local economy where it is grown.

The Municipal Government of Oton in cooperation with Oton Watermelon Growers Association (OWGA) and East-West Seed annually celebrates its Sandiya (Watermelon) Festival. This year, the event is scheduled on December 5, 2013, 1 p.m. at the Oton Amphitheater Green.

A family event for all ages, the Sandiya Festival celebrates one of Iloilo’s favorite fruits.  The celebration is a great opportunity to not only discover more about this delicious fruit, but have a whole lot of fun doing it.

Each year the Sandiya Festival committee works hard to improve the festival and its activities. The watermelons are always provided from local growers and given to the festival goers for FREE. Most of the favorite festival activities started eight years ago are still continued today which include fruit relays, PINAKA (biggest and heaviest) and fruit carving contests. 

Watermelon is a very popular fruit enjoyed by people all over the world. This spotted, striped and solid green-colored fruit grows on vines on the ground and shares some relationship with cantaloupe and honeydew. It comes with varieties in rind or in flesh colors. Most popular variety is of red or yellow. Watermelons grow in various shapes such as round, oblong or spherical.

Watermelons can quench your thirst as it mostly consists of water. However, it is very rich in nutrients and offers numerous health benefits as well. The nutritional value and health benefits of the fruit are not limited to its flesh, even the seeds and the rind are very good sources of vitamins and minerals.

Watermelon is very popular for its health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants beneficial in preventing some forms of cancer, like, breast cancer, prostate cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancers. Lycopene is an antioxidant found in watermelon, protects the genetic material of white blood cells and also prevents oxygen damage in cells which has been found to be linked to the occurrence of cancer in humans.

Many farmers in Oton have discovered watermelon to be usually more profitable to grow than many other crops because the fruit yields high and do not take a long time to grow. The fruits are also well liked by consumers and so the market is big. The East-West Seed, a long time and loyal partner of the municipal government in coming up with this festival has also been largely responsible for the popularity of watermelons as well as melons in Oton today.

Sandiya Festival is a great family-fun event that entertains all ages.  People get into the spirit by participating in competitions.  What is even better is that all of them are free to attend.

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