DAGUPAN CITY — The City Agriculture Office (CAO) has assured a sufficient supply of some 4,500 kilograms or 14,000 pieces of bangus (milkfish) for grilling during the annual Bangusan street party on April 30 here.
City agriculture officer Emma Molina, in an interview Tuesday, said everything is ready for the much-awaited street party.
“We are ready for the 900 grills; 4,500 kilos (or an average 14,000 pieces of Dagupan bangus is ready, and it will be harvested evening of April 29 in time for the April 30 event,” she said.
“As early as January (this year), we have scouted fishpond areas that are not threatened by El Niño or sudden flash flood. The average weight of each bangus to be grilled is between 350-400 grams,” she added.
The city has 901 hectares of bangus fishponds located in 22 out of 31 barangays (villages).
Molina said the daily supply of bangus at the city’s Magsaysay Fish Market (Dagupan bangus and from other areas in Pangasinan) is five to six tons.
“We reached 10 tons a day during peak buying days of the traders from as far as Kalinga and Tuguegarao. The average supply of Dagupan bangus is two to three tons. It is hard to project if the supply is increasing or decreasing. Practically, it depends on the demand since at present your supply is only a text away as they say. Because of technology, buyers would just text their suppliers and then the supply will be delivered,” she explained.
For almost a month now, bangus price at the fish market ranges from PHP120 to PHP125 for 500 gram; price per kilo for smaller bangus is at PHP135 to PHP140 (four pieces) or PHP145 to PHP150 per kilo (three pieces).
Molina said the production of bangus is not affected by the current weather condition.
“Actually, summer season is the ideal time to grow bangus, but alongside with it are the anomalies and abnormalities that could be brought by the weather condition, since this also a critical period when fish kill or red tide might occur. Since we are experiencing dry spell, we have prepared for it. We already informed the bangus growers of the measures they should adopt. Firstly, they should monitor for signs of oxygen shortage in their ponds,” Molina explained.
She added that the CAO has also made sure that fishes sold in the city’s market are fresh and not harmful to the consumers.
“We have all the reasons to celebrate Bangus Festival, and every year we venerate and give thanks to the Lord for what we get,” Molina stressed.
Meanwhile, the search for the “longest,” “heaviest,” and “prettiest” Dagupan bangus, as well as the fastest bangus classifier, fastest bangus deboner, and fastest bangus eater took center stage at the Bangus Rodeo event as part of the Bangus Festival 2019 on Tuesday.
Molina said the records to beat for the longest bangus is 87 centimeters (34 inches), which was made in 2014; and the heaviest bangus (2017) weighed 8.4 kilograms.
The Bangus Rodeo is one of the traditional Bangus Festival events since its launching 2002 by then mayor, the late Benjamin Lim. The other events (the title of the events were renamed by incumbent Mayor Belen Fernandez) are Gilon-Gilon ed Dalan Street Dancing Competition (renamed Gilon Gilon ed Baley), 101 Ways to Cook Bangus (renamed Bangusine), and Kalutan ed Dalan-Bangusan Street Party (Bangusan Street Party).
The highlight of the Bangus Festival is the Kalutan ed Dalan street party on April 30, which will be held at the De Venecia Expressway.
The winners of the longest and heaviest bangus will be given PHP15,000 and trophy for the champion; PHP10,000 and trophy and PHP5,000 and trophy for the first and second runners-up, respectively.
The Prettiest Dagupan Bangus are selected on the basis of the following standards: 1) eyes are clear and well rounded, 2) scales are fine, smooth and orderly, 3) head is small and beautifully crafted, 4) stomach is bulging, 5) gills are red and fresh, 6) tail ideally are not of equal length, the lower fin is shorter, 7) flesh is firm yet soft, 8) odor is pleasant and alluring, and 9) weight is less than half kilo or not more than one kilo.
The owner of the prettiest bangus will receive PHP7,000 and trophy. First and second runners-up will get PHP5,000 and trophy and PHP3,000 plus trophy, respectively.
Meanwhile, the fastest bangus classifier is chosen based on the speed and quality of the contestant’s classifying skills. The fastest bangus deboner is chosen based on the speed and quality of deboning skills. Each participant will be given two pieces of (about) 350 grams fresh bangus to debone.
For the fastest bangus eater, the winner is chosen based on the speed of the contestant to consume two pieces of grilled bangus. The prizes in each event are pegged at PHP5,000 and medal (champion), PHP3,000 and medal (first runner-up), and PHP2,000 and medal (second runner-up). Liwayway Yparraguirre /PNA – northboundasia.com