The annual Bambanti Festival is back this year with the warm yet vibrant theme “ISABELA KONG MAHAL” (Isabela, My Beloved Land), committed to showcasing the ardent love of Isabeleños for their land of birth.
Bambanti Festival: Isabela Kong Mahal
Organized by the Provincial Government of Isabela, the Bambanti Festival is a tourism, trade, and environment project aiming to develop, promote, and market Isabeleños’ world-class indigenous products, lifestyle, merchandise items, and cuisine as the pride of place.
Bambanti Festival 2018, celebrated from January 22 – 27, focuses on Isabeleños’ warm traits for their beloved land, care and protection for their national resources and environment, love and respect for the culture, history, and heritage of the community, and consistent efforts for a sustainable agriculture and all other industries.
The theme “ISABELA KONG MAHAL” depicts Isabeleños strong commitment to their beloved land and outstanding virtue of hard work, proudly sharing to its visitors how their family-inherited traits contributed to the fast-growing socio-cultural and economic development of the province through various creative concepts and images.
“Bambanti” is an Ilocano word for a scarecrow, which the province considers as protection despite the common notion that it arouses fear. Created with colorful straws and grasses wrapped in farmer’s clothing, bambanti has always been the icon and mascot of the festival.
Bambanti Festival Fares
The Provincial Government of Isabela has prepared yet again another impressive array of festival fares that locals and visitors can look forward to.
Onset is the Kultura Ken Sining – activities featuring the province’s rich culture and arts:
Giant Bambanti Showcase, a province-wide Search for the Best Giant Bambanti (Scarecrow) Showcase to be participated in by all LGUs of the province. Each official entry epitomizes the character of the place and people it represents in terms of culture, history, trade, industry, and environment following the prescribed theme: ISABELA KONG MAHAL. It will be displayed in front of the exhibit space designated for each LGU participant at the Bambanti Village.
Bambanti Street-Dance and Showdown Competition, showcasing the advocacy for agricultural progress and environment protection and conservation through their dance movements, with bambanti as the focal reference and unifying element.
Bambanti Musical Street, with Isabela’s choral groups interpreting a common four-voice contest piece—an original composition, depictive of the inherent qualities, virtues, and character of Isabeleños and a second pop music piece of each group’s choice to be rendered with full choreography.
Bambanti Festival King and Queen, a cultural pageant to search the LGUs’ festival king and queen who excel not only with their physical beauty but more importantly their knowledge, appreciation, and pride of place, culture and history of their hometown and province.
Furthermore, Bambanti Festival’s highlight falls on the Bambanti Village, which exhibits Isabela’s Agri-Eco Tourism prides:
Indigenous Handicrafts, which is a rich collection of locally-made OTOP-certified products from each municipality and city.
Heritage, which displays patterns, weaves, music, arts, language, traditions, and culture of the tribal communities of Gaddang, Ibanag, Ytaois and Ilocano.
Lifestyle Merchandise or the showcase of hand-crafted home accessories for dining, entertaining, bedroom and living room areas including but not limited to furniture, linens, home decors, etc.
Isabela’s Master Kusinero Cooking Contest, aiming to bare exotic dishes from the traditional Isabela home kitchens that are mostly undiscovered.
The Bambanti Festival is a three-time winner of Aliw Awards, bringing home the title of Best Festival Practices and Performance for 2015 – 2017.