LEGAZPI CITY — Now on its second year of staging, the Abaca Festival in Catanduanes continues to help promote the abaca industry for which it has been known for while showcasing the province as a prime tourist destination with a new tagline as a “Happy Island”.
Carmel Bonifacio Garcia, Catanduanes tourism officer, said the new branding as a “Happy Island” for the tourism promotion activities of the province was officially launched during the festival opening ceremonies Monday and that it would last until Friday.
Matet G. Reyes, a Catandunganon, had posted in her Facebook page that Catanduanes not only has “idyllic beaches, verdant hills and amazing underwater scenes” but the province also has people who would make visitors feel at home.
“No wonder it is called the ‘happy island’,” she said.
Garcia said the new “branding” represents the “positive character and the enduring spirit of Catandunganons who defy all storms that have come our way.”
She said the festival also highlighted the people’s optimism that the abaca trade would continue to flourish and provide regular income for the province’s abaca farmers.
The Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority or PhilFIDA noted that Catanduanes contributes half of the total abaca being supplied by the Philippines to the world market, she said.
Citing PhilFIDA data, Garcia said the Philippines supplies 86 percent of the abaca requirements in the world.
During the festival’s opening day activities, she said the Department of Trade and Industry had featured “technology demonstrations” on abaca twinning, Bacbac twisting, Sinamay weaving, abaca hammock making, rugs and carpet weaving, abaca crocheting and slipper making as part of a trade fair.
Garcia said other partner agencies spearheaded various other events with PhilFIDA taking care of Abaca Farmers’ Day and featuring an “abaca stripping contest” among farmers from various municipalities.
The first place winners in the female category of the abaca stripping contest were from Viga town–Lucy Balidoy, Alicia Tanio and Lydia Toledo.
In the male category, the first place winners, who were from Caramoran town, were Andro Lopez, Frederick Ibuig and Tirso Bermijo.
Garcia said the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority took care of two culinary skills competitions which were scheduled Friday at the Virac Plaza covered courts.
Participants from seven municipalities competed in the first challenge to become the “Kampeon sa Kusina” (cooking champions).
“The representatives from Bato town, Maricel Torzar and Rebecca Orrot, along with their coach Daisy Tulalian, emerged as first prize winner in the first cooking challenge,” said Garcia.
She said in the second cooking battle with three food establishments as competitors, Kemji Resort and Restaurant emerged as the winner. The establishment was represented by Napoleon Granada, Jr., Orlando Olapani III, and Richilda San Jose. Connie Destura/PNA-northboundasia.com