Isabela celebrates Bambanti Festival 2020
ILAGAN CITY, Isabela—To exhibit cultural identity, exceptional talent, delicate craftsmanship, and epicurean delight, Isabela celebrated its week-long Bambanti Festival 2020—the greatest and grandest annual festivity in the province—which kicked off last Monday, January 27, and capped off last Friday, January 31, in Ilagan City. The festive celebration included participation by 34 municipalities and 3 cities, prompted by their municipal and city mayors.
Bambanti, an Ilocano term meaning “scarecrow,” was organized by the provincial government, headed by Governor Rodito T. Albano III and Vice Governor Faustino G. Dy III. Started in 1997, the festival pays tribute to all local farmers who persevere and are dedicated to planting rice and corn in sprawling green fields, earning a living for their families and providing food for the community.
Festival highlights included a Bambanti Village: Agri-Ecotourism Exhibit and Sale, Search for Queen Isabela 2020, iRUNFORTAAL: Color Fun Run, Makan Ken Mainum, Street-Dance Parade Competition, Bambanti Musical Production, and Isabela Grand Concert Party.
In the Bambanti Village: Agri-Ecotourism Exhibit and Sale, all municipalities and cities (except Santiago City) joined the exhibit, showcasing different intricately made Giant Bambanti and Agri-Ecotourism Booths that sell the best agricultural products and items originally from their hometowns. For Giant Bambanti, the town of Jones took home the bacon in category A while Quirino topped category B. For Agri-Ecotourism Booth, the town of Alicia stood out among all contenders in category A while Burgos won category B.
The Search for Queen Isabela showcased the wit and talent of thirty-one beauties. Ms. Quirino, the fairest of them all, was crowned as Queen Isabela. She will represent the province of Isabela in Miss Millennial 2020, the beauty pageant with a cause sponsored by Eat Bulaga!
Bambanti Festival is not a typical celebration. It is a celebration with a cause. Due to the recent eruption of Taal Volcano, the organizers came up with an idea, iRUNFORTAAL: Color Fun Run, to raise funds for the victims. The preparation for this event was done in only five days; however, 12,000 runners participated and more than 1 million pesos were raised. All proceeds will be donated to affected areas of Batangas and Cavite.
Meanwhile, Makan ken Mainum, a cooking and drink-making contest, was held on the third day. For Makan, home cooks were tasked to cook leveled up dishes incorporating noodles made of rice, corn, and cassava. On the other hand, for Mainum, participants were assigned to create cocktail drinks using indigenous wines and juice products available in the local market. The City of Ilagan cooked the most delicious dish while Tumauini made the best-mixed cocktail drink.
Locals and tourists filled the stadium of Isabela Sports Complex as the 2700 dancers from 27 municipalities wore colorful scarecrow-inspired costumes, performed their routines, and danced their way to the beat of music while chanting “Bam-ban-ti!” Besting 11 contingents in category A, the town of Alicia took home the top prize with their performance spelling out the letters A-L-I-C-I-A using their bodies. With so much energy and lively moves, Luna won in category B. The festival kings and queens presented their costumes made of local fabrics and indigenous materials.
Other activities included a bubble parade and rave party, a foam party, the Globe Music Festival featuring Ben & Ben and some social media influencers, the Bambanti Musical Production, and a grand fireworks display.
Capping it all off was the Isabel Grand Concert Party, an after-party, starring Piolo Pascual, Kakai Bautista and K. Brosas at Queen Isabela Park.