Scarecrows and much more at Isabela’s Bambanti

The Philippine Star - 02 Mar 2018

Isabela had another successful staging of its annual Bambanti festival, which shines the spotlight on the province’s diversified agricultural production, artistry and craftsmanship.

            Some 90 percent of Isabela’s three cities and 34 towns showcased their agricultural produce and distinctive products under the decades-old One Town, One Product (OTOP) program of the national government.

            The annual festival revolves around the scarecrows, Bambanti in the local language, an ubiquitous feature in agricultural lands here and abroad. The OTOP theme was carried on to the giant renditions of the Bambanti. Aside from the traditional rice straw, booths by participating towns and cities in the agri-ecotourism fair featured scarecrows made from their respective indigenous products and materials.

            The giant Bambantis were made of shells from the coastal towns and mongo and other beans, ears of corn and husks as well as rice from inland towns.

            Residents and people from neighboring provinces shopped for distinctive products like the chocolate-scented Pinilisan red rice, the latik-filledmoriecos and othersuman, rice and fruit wines, white corn “coffee” and fresh vegetables, among others.

           Visitors also had a chance to admire works by the local artists and craftsmen, like home and other home décor made of wood and artificial flowers from corn husks and cobs.

            The week-long event featured various competitions, including best agri-ecotourism booth, best Bambanti, best in street dancing, best choral group and festival king and queen, among the participating towns and cities.

            Cooks and drink mixers were challenged in the Makan ken Mainum competition organized by Mary Ann Arcega Dy, wife of the governor and a culinary arts graduate. This year’s cooking contest involved the use of goat meat.

            Cauayan City, which hosts the province’s airport, earned the most points and top prize of P1.5 million from the provincial government to fund its development projects.

            Governor Faustino “Bojie” Dy III, an outstanding governor award recipient; first district Rep. Rodito Albano and members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan presented the award to Cauayan City Mayor Bernard Faustino Dy and all the other winners.