Abaca Festival 2016
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Catanduanes – a province known to be a savage path of typhoons crossing the country; a host to various devastating storms that destroyed millions of properties and livelihood over the years. Yet, Catanduanes and its people have shown strength and resilience over catastrophic atrocities in innumerable ways. For one, the province continued to produce high-quality abaca fibers and products that are patronized in the local and international scale.
Abaca is considered the strongest among natural fibers, posing a remarkable reputation for sustainability and tenacity. The abaca’s attributes reflect the enduring spirit of the Catandunganon people and form the foundation of livelihood in the province. It is no wonder abaca has become the identity of Catanduanes and its people. After all, the island is the nation’s top abaca manufacturer.
The last week of May marked the first-ever Catanduanes Abaca Festival – a weeklong celebration dedicated to the booming abaca industry in the province. The premier festival was a significant means to promote and elevate the abaca industry in Catanduanes, as well as to showcase famous abaca products. Various events were held to highlight the important role of abaca in Catanduanes’ economic and socio-environment development.
The fiesta jumpstarted with the unveiling of Abaca Showcase and Photo Booth at the capitol lobby. Exhibits and video presentations featuring different ways of abaca harvesting and the production processes of abaca farming were there to educate both locals and guests.
The Trade Fair and Travel Expo handled by DTI ran all throughout the festival’s duration at Plaza Rizal in Virac, the provincial capital. Local businesses engaged in the abaca business and homegrown tour operators were present to showcase their respective products and services.
Bright hues and energetic vibes dominated Virac town proper as the abaca street dance, float parade and dance showdown took place. Representatives from the municipalities of Virac and Bato showed off their creativity and talent to the eager crowd.
A Skills Olympics featuring people from the Food & Beverage, Cookery, Housekeeping, Bread & Pastry, and Abaca Accessories Making industries took place at Plaza Rizal. The Pag-hag-ot Contest was simultaneously held at the capitol grounds.
An investment forum that tackled the potentials and prospects of abaca pulp factory in Catanduanes, along with contests like Kantyaw Sayaw and longest abaca fiber, transpired the whole day.
A Job Fair took place from 8am-5pm at the capitol dome, while several contests and festivities – Manaud (going to market) and Pakaraskasan (sack race), to name a few – were held at the capitol grounds.
The festival closed with Gubing Abaca sa Santacruzan in the afternoon. Ingenious abaca creations worn by fine women were paraded along the town’s streets. A live performance of the top 3 entries in the abaca songwriting contest followed before the night was capped off with a Fellowship Night, still at the capitol grounds.
With Catanduanes being the biggest abaca producing province in the Philippines, there’s no denying that abaca is embedded in its identity. It is in abaca that its people learned to be resilient in every storm that comes in their lives. This island province is, indeed, the “abaca county.”
Under Provincial Ordinance No. 021 Series of 2015, the Catanduanes Abaca Festival will be held annually every fourth week of May.