DAGUPAN CITY, April 30 (PIA) — This year’s Bangus festival maybe short on duration, but festival events have morphed to other unique attractions to make up for the shorter time to celebrate the global event.
More than 24 activities were lined up to add color to the festivities and compensate for its abbreviated duration.
On April 22, the festival opened with a float parade called the Bangus ed Carosa, featuring various floats, including milkfish, made by the city government, non-government organizations and private entities. Float parade marks the formal launching of the festival, although it is usually opened a week early.
Prior to the float parade, however, two events, the Bangus Festival 2013 Photo Contest, and the Kapamilya Caravan celebrity show were held to serve as soft opening activities on April 14 and 20, respectively.
The formal opening also saw the TV5 Serye Karavan sa Dagupan& GO5!live show entertain Dagupeñosand the opening of the nine-day Dagupan’s Best Trade fair, featuring locally-made products.
On April 23, Dagupan was treated to various delicacies during the 101 Ways to Cook Seafood, a culinary competition, which featured celebrity chef Boy Logro as the contest judge and guest of honor.
The city government diverted from the usual 101 Ways to Cook Bangus to show that, being an aquaculture community, it is also capable of raising and promoting fish products other than milkfish.
The five-day Pigar-Pigar Festival also kicked off last April 23. Pigar-pigar is among the famous dishes in the city. The dish is made of deep-fried thinly-cut beef with some vegetables.
The Pigar-Pigar Festival has been an integral part of Bangus Festival, although it was not originally included in its maiden launch.
Bangus Rodeo, a competition of skills involved in bangus trading, and the Bikini Open were also held the same day.
Little Miss Dagupan, D’ BSL Lechon Festival and Drum and Lyre Competition were held on April 24, 25 and 26, respectively.
The Lechon Festival has been integrated into the festival since 2010 when the city government started its campaign for more healthful raising of pigs through organic feeding. The city hopes to become the Lechon Capital of the Country someday.
Featured on April 26 was the Drum and Lyre Competition at the City Plaza and capped by the Globe Night in the same venue.
The next day was a thanksgiving mass at the Pantal River, where the three-day Dragon Boat Race was also held. Smart Day was also on this date at the City Plaza.
BomboRadyo Night at the City Plaza and the four-day SMB Battle of the Bands at Tondaligan Beach followed the next day.
And on the 29th, visitors were treated to one of the highlights of the festival, the Gilon-Giloned Dalan Street Dancing Competition starting at the Dagupan City Astrodome.
The competition showcased dance numbers featuring various traditional and modern practices in harvesting bangus. ‘Gilon’ means harvest in Pangasinan.
The festivity then took to the streets for its main highlight, which was the Kalutaned Dalan along the downtown area.
Kalutaned Dalan, which means street grilling, put Dagupan City on the global tourism map when it set the record for the longest barbecue grill in 2003, a record previously held by Peru.
The festivity will taper off with Miss Gay naDayat, LAUS Autogroup Car Show and a kickboxing tournament from May 1 to 3, respectively.
The Bangus Festival has grown from a small local festivity 11 years ago to what is now recognized as one of the more popular festivals in the country.
Official records indicate that,annually, more than a million people visit Dagupan City for the festivity.
Each year, new innovations, such as the Pigar-Pigar and Lechon Festivals and 101 Ways to Cook Seafood are being introduced to bring more color to the festivities.
The festival had since spawned other festivals such as the Mango Bamboo Festival in San Carlos City, Pindang Festival in Mangaldan, Talong Festival in Villasis but the Bangus fest outshined them all. (MCA/ARRF/PIA-1 Pangasinan)