Solon commends ‘leveled up’ Bangus Festival, but wants more unique offers added

DAGUPAN CITY — A lawmaker has expressed optimism that this city’s Bangus Festival will soon become as grand and famous as the other crowd-drawing celebrations in the country, noting its “leveled up” edition this year compared to last year’s.

Pangasinan Fourth District Representative Christopher de Venecia congratulated Mayor Belen Fernandez and 2017 Bangus Festival Executive Chairman Epee Rafanan for the improvements in the festival.

He added, however, that there must be culturally rooted programming for Bangus Festival to make it catch up with if not equal the more famous festivities in the country such as Iloilo’s Dinagyang Festival and Cebu’s Sto. Niño Festival.

De Venecia noted that he has been to almost all events of the 2017 Bangus Festival since its launching last April 16 as Congress is on recess. “I think Mayor Belen and Epee Rafanan are on the right track,” he said.

When asked if Bangus Festival could be at par with the more famous Dinagyang and Sto. Niño Festivals, De Venecia said this is expected since the Bangus Festival is now zooming up.

“Don’t worry, we will get there soon,” De Venecia said, assuring that with culturally-rooted programming to be incorporated in the festival, there would be more unique offerings to be seen in its future editions.

He explained that the traditional mindset for the festival is to have the usual activities like food strip and “baratillo” that are being done yearly, but these activities are also part of other festivals.

He said there should be more creative and different kinds of activities not seen in other festivals so that tourists will have reasons to go back to Dagupan again and again.

He confessed this was his experience in the Dinagyang Festival. He said he attended the religious phase of the celebration, which the congressman now considers as “the most memorable experience in my life”.

“Imagine, we’re praying, then all of a sudden, there was a party and then afterwards, there was again a moment of silence, and a time for another praying. That was something weird but was worth the experience,” he said.

De Venecia said when he related this unique experience to his friends, many of them became excited and expressed eagerness to also be part of Dinagyang Festival.

Underscoring the need to put up an event that will be surely talked about, De Venecia, a former child actor and theater director, said this should be introduced in the Bangus Festival to captivate tourists even more and ensure their coming back.

He maintained that tourism is not just about destinations but also experience.

In attending the Bangus Festival, De Venecia is actually touching base with stakeholders and with the small entrepreneurs selling sundry items whom he wants to help earn more as part of his tourism and agriculture advocacy in Congress. Leonardo Micua/