CANDABA -- The iconic Ibon-Ebon Festival might make its much-awaited comeback this year after almost five years of hiatus, said Mayor Danilo Baylon.
In an exclusive interview with SunStar Pampanga, Baylon noted the high possibility that the birds and eggs festival will take the center stage again in mid-February this year, just in time for the expected arrival of migratory birds.
Baylon said that 2018 might be the perfect year to re-launch the famous homegrown festival to act as major promotion activity for Candaba’s products.
He stressed that after the avian influenza hit parts of Pampanga last year, the revival of Ibon-Ebon Festival can boost the sales of the poultry sector here which is considered one of the major livelihood of residents.
“It is not 100 percent decided yet but most probably, it will happen. We are more confident this year because I believe this is the perfect way to promote our town products, especially chicken and duck eggs (balut),” he said.
Baylon added that the sightings of new kinds of migratory birds in town is another milestone for the Candaba swamp and the whole town to celebrate should the festival finally push through.
Earlier this year, well-known Kapampangan conservationist and bird photographer Juanita Santos-Ancheta said 11 new migratory birds, namely, Siberian white tail, Chinese white wagtail, grey-faced buzzard, common kestoel, Chinese goshaw, red jungle fowls, brown shrike, brown-breasted kingfisher, common kingfisher, Artic babbler and grey wagtail, were seen in various parts of the province, including Candaba town.
“If we pursue the festival’s revival, hopefully migratory birds will also once again see Candaba swamp as their ideal sanctuary and will continue to travel and stay here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Baylon said the local government is poised to allocate some P1.5-million funds for the festival, which is much smaller than the P5-million budget used during the term of Ibon-Ebon Festival founder, former mayor Jerry Pelayo.
In this way, the beneficiaries of the scholarship program will continue to receive their stipends despite the festival revival. The local government’s enhanced scholarship program was initiated by former mayor Rene Maglanque after he abandoned the annual Ibon-Ebon Festival and diverted its funds to help Candabeño youth in their education.
“Both programs of the past mayors are important for the education and cultural sector and we want to equally give way to them based on the clamor of our fellow Candabeños,” he said.
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on January 11, 2018.
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