Pakwan Festival set in Bani town, Feb. 6 to 9

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Saturday, January 25, 2014


BANI, Pangasinan -- Preparations are now in high gear for the holding of the Pakwan Festival here on February 6 to 9 in a bid to further promote the primary product (watermelon) of this second class town in Western Pangasinan to the entire country, if not, the world.

Bani Mayor Gwen Yamamoto said they estimate up to 100,000 people, mostly visitors, will come to Bani to watch the festival. They target from only 30,000 to 40,000 visitors since the town has no inns, hotels and lodging houses.

She said that at this early, she asked hotels and inns in adjacent Alaminos City and the town of Bolinao to accommodate tourists coming to the Pakwan Festival.

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Yamamoto said the watermelons of Bani are known far and wide to be the sweetest in the Philippines as they grow farms with soil rich with limestone.

"We suspect it is the limestone that makes our watermelon tastes sweet since it becomes a natural filter of the water that gets into the plant," said Yamamoto, only in her first term of office.

Some 100 to almost 200 hectares of farmlands in the town are devoted yearly for watermelon production. The watermelons from Bani, come in green and yellow and are marketed to Manila, Clark, Subic and Dagupan City.

Aside from watermelons, the town also produces the round and yellow melon, cantaloupe and honey dew, all belong to the water melon family.

The other major product of the farms in the town during summer is yellow corn which is bought by traders selling the commodity to animal feed manufacturer.

Yamamoto said although the municipality is second class with a budget this year of P106 million, it is able to provide subsidy to the unrelenting watermelon farmers numbering some 200.

Each watermelon farmer can apply up to P8,000 loan per season with only a modest interest of P200 after five months.

At this early, Yamamoto is extending her apology to motorists who may be passing Bani on Feb. 8 to 9 as their travel may be delayed for three hours when they will stage street dancing, a top feature of the festival.

There are almost a thousand dancers who will take to the streets during those days and each group of dancers with a minimum of 15 participants will perform for five minutes.

During those times, it is best that they get down and watch the street dancing and join in the fun, said Yamamoto in jest.

Other exciting features of the festival are "Anibersaya", and "Human Pakwan" to be participated in by the fattest of men in the town whose body will be painted with the color of watermelon. (PNA)

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