The three-time Aliw Awards Hall of Famer and Guinness World Record Title Holder, Bambanti Festival recently held its yearly week-long celebration from January 27-31, 2020.
“Bambanti” is an Ilocano word for scarecrow which the province considers as protector of their fields despite the common notion that it rouses fear. But the highlight of the festival is not just the Bambanti made of colorful straws and grasses wrapped in farmers clothing.
Bambanti Festival, which is considered the “Mother of All Festivals” features the community life, history, heritage and the beauty of the Province of Isabela with its thirty-four (34) towns and three (3) cities.
The festivity kicked off with a Thanksgiving Mass at St. Michael Cathedral in Gamu town, simultaneous with the medical and dental mission at Gov. F. N. Dy Memorial Hospital. On the opening day, the Bambanti Village also formally opened led by Gov. Rodito Albano III and Vice Gov. and Bambanti Festival 2020 Director General Faustino “Bojie” Dy III together with other municipal and provincial officials of Isabela.
Queen Isabela Pageant, which was joined in the Bambanti Festival for the first time, is one of the festival’s main events. Thirty-one (31) beautiful young women representing the different municipalities and cities of Isabela competed for the title. Roseann Camille Lavarez Fernandez from the municipality of Quirino bagged the Queen Isabela 2020 title which is a first for her hometown.
The Makan Ken Mainum contest which highlights the different Isabela dishes was also one of the festival’s highlights. “Makan”, the production of noodles using rice, corn and cassava as raw materials and “mainum”, the different indigenous wines and juice products from the province. Makan first place winner is the City of Ilagan while Mainum winner is Tumauini.
Expressing support for the victims and survivors of the Taal eruption, about 10,000 people have participated in the “I Run For Taal”, the 3km color fun run. Proceeds went straight to the rice and other household items bought for the Taal eruption survivors. Isabela has also previously sent a helping hand to those affected by delivering 2000 bags of rice in Batangas and Cavite.
There were other activities like Parade of Colors and LGU Officials, and Festival King and Queen which was bagged by Benito Soliven for both categories. Ilagan (Category A) and Luna (Category B) won the Festival King Costume, Festival Queen Costume won by Ilagan (Category A) and Quirino (Category B). Agri-ecotourism exhibit and sale were also part of the activities’ as well as the Street Dance Competition won by Alicia (Category A) and Luna (Category B). But the main highlight is the Giant Bambanti Showcase Competition won by Jones (Category A) and Quirino (Category B)
The town of Alicia was declared the overall winner for this year’s festival.
Department of Tourism (DoT) Secretary Bernadette Fatima Romulo-Puyat graced and took part as the festival’s guest of honor and speaker. Aside from the yearly festivals, DoT wants to make Isabela a primary ‘top-of-mind’ eco-tourism destination.
Bambanti Festival 2020 has become a huge success, proving its worth as a three-time Aliw Award Hall of Famer after winning from 2015 to 2017. The festival has helped in the growth of the province’s economy and tourism.
Issued on behalf of the Province of Isabela by Ysmael Moyer Valenzuela & Associates, Inc.