Week-long 2018 Bambanti festival begins

CITY OF ILAGAN, Isabela — The annual Bambanti Festival of this province has formally kicked off Monday with a Thanksgiving Mass held at the St. Michael Cathedral here.

Governor Faustino G. Dy III led the faithful who attended the mass together with other provincial officials and employees, local leaders from the cities and municipalities of Isabela, and national-based government agencies.

The mass was conducted before all activities of the event to thank God for all the blessings poured to the province.

After the mass, the governor led the formal opening of the agri-ecotourism exhibit and sale, Bambanti Village, free medical and dental mission at Gov. Faustino N. Dy Sr. Memorial Hospital and sports activities and competitions.

“Bambanti” is an Ilocano word for scarecrow, which the province considers as protection despite the common notion that it sows fear.

The scarecrows are created with colorful straws and grasses wrapped in farmer’s clothing, bambanti has always been the icon and mascot of the festival.

Dy said the Bambanti Festival is a three-time winner of Aliw Awards, bringing home the title of Best Festival Practices and Performance for 2015 – 2017.

This year’s theme “Isabela Kong Mahal” showcases Isabeleños’ strong commitment to the beloved land and outstanding virtue of hard work, and proudly share to visitors how the family-inherited traits contributed to the fast growing socio-cultural and economic development of the province.

Among the other activities that are lined-up during the week-long celebration are culinary competition, search for Festival King and Queen costumes, street dance parade competition, grand opening of “Isabela Kong Mahal”, festival dance showdown competition, best agri-ecotourism booth and Giant Bambanti competition, choral competition, concert party and grand fireworks display. Merlito Edale/PNA-northboundasia.com