IBA, Zambales—Colorful confetti rained down on guests, while a marching band struck festive martial music, as Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and Vice Gov. Ramon Lacbain II opened this year’s edition of the Zambales Dinamulag Mango Festival here on Wednesday.
The four-day festivity, which is named after the popular dinamulag, or carabao, variety of sweet mango, kicked off at the Zambales Sports Complex in this town with the opening of the “Pinaka” LGU Showcase, which displays the best and biggest products from the 13 municipalities of Zambales, and a trade fair and exhibit promoting local mango products, ranging from raw fruits to jam and purée to vinegar and wine.
A diorama of Ayta dwellings also debuted at the festival site to depict the socioeconomic condition of the local indigenous peoples, as they shifted from being nomadic hunter-gatherers to raisers of crops and livestock, to being wage-earners and small traders.
In the next three days, visitors would also see the mango-themed street-dancing competition, which is the major event of the annual festival, a mango-themed float competition, talent contests, several sports events, a mango plantation and fruit-picking tour, and the grand pageant night for the 2015 Search for Binibining Zambales.
Ebdane said the arrival of thousands of visitors during the four-day celebration presents a big opportunity to the Zambales community.
He said that over the years the Dinamulag Festival has grown to include various sporting events to further promote tourism in the province.
“While [sports participants] compete, we can promote our resorts, products and accommodation services,” Ebdane said.
“Kapag may turista, hindi lang turismo ang umuunlad, pati ekonomiya. They enliven the small businesses of the locals,” he also pointed out.
Under Ebdane, the annual mango festival has also expanded to include events other than the staple dance contests and product exhibits held in the capital town of Iba.
This year the festival will also highlight the pine-clad Mount Tapulao in Paluig town, the highest peak in Central Luzon, which will be the venue for an ultra-marathon; the lahar-sand plains of the Maculcol River in San Felipe and San Narciso, the site of a 4×4 off-road challenge; and the bay waters of Uacon Cove in Candelaria, the venue for various swimming and kayak events.
“Mahilig tayo sa sports,” Ebdane also said during the opening program.
“We want to expand the festival activities. We want more people from outside the province to visit and join us in the festival.”