Monday, December 19, 2016

Pantat: Traditional Community Festival in Zarraga

Zarraga, Iloilo will celebrate its heritage and cuisine with the annual Pantat Festival on December 17-23, 2016 with its highlight, the tribal dance competition on December 23 (Friday) at 3 p.m. at the municipal football field.

Considered as one of the largest festivals in the Second Congressional District of the province, Zarraganhons annually honours its best produce, Pantat or Catfish on a grand scale with “don’t-miss” special events daily. 

The festival is a unique attraction that offers fun and entertainment for both locals and visitors alike. It also showcases the popular local catfish dishes available in our local eateries. Locals show how to make the most of this bounty, with a chance to watch learn and try other delicious dishes.

There is always a special atmosphere at the festival, a unique mix of Zarraga’s vibrant holiday scene and the traditional community thriving with catfish farms. Together they bring the town to life for this week-long annual event and provide its community with a showcase to be proud of.

In this town, commercial aquaculture is considered to be economically practical. Catfish farming developed rapidly alongside with improvements in pond management, disease identification and control, feeds were developed and adopted by local catfish farmers.

Catfish farming is much more than just stocking a pond with fish, feeding them, and then reaping the profits a few months later. It requires a large investment and carries a high risk. Intensive catfish culture requires management almost 24 hours a day during most of the year, and Zarraganhons had been providing this type of management many years back. Commercial catfish ponds are a popular sight in this area.

The future of the catfish industry in Zarraga is clear. The industry will continue to grow as
the market for catfish in Iloilo is well developed. Once considered a product of interest only in Zarraga, catfish can now be found in restaurants and on menus in many restaurants throughout Iloilo.

The focus of Pantat Festival is on honouring those who contribute to the fishing industry in Zarraga. The festivity celebrates the contribution made to Zarraga by those persons involved in the local catfish farming industry.

Located in the northeastern portion of Iloilo, the municipality of Zarraga is 16 kilometers away from Iloilo City.  Zarraga is at a converging point for the two national highways: the main roads of Central Panay, including the provinces of Aklan and Capiz; and the northern towns of Iloilo Provinces.

It has a land area of 5, 448 hectares where 660 hectares are intended for fishponds. The town is subdivided into 24 barangays. To get to Zarraga, one can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza or at the new Ceres Terminal in Barangay Camalig, Jaro, Iloilo City.

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