SABLAN Mayor Arthur Baldo is keen on sustaining the town as a fruit basket of Benguet.

The town mayor added in a bid for the dream to materialize, the local government will soon buy seedlings of different fruits from Mindanao, Laguna and Batangas.

These fruits include rambutan, lanzones, and durian which have been thriving in the municipality.

“As the fruit basket of Benguet, we want to have improved fruit production,” added Mayor Baldo.

On Monday, a total of 176 kilograms of fresh fruits were served to around 1,000 people at the largest fruit salad event held in the municipality in time for the 3rd Fruit Festival.

At least 18 kilos of bananas, 25 kilos of cucumbers, 13 kilos of pomelo, 22 kilos of papaya, 45 kilos of pineapple, 16 kilos of guavas, 20 kilos of jackfruit, 13 kilos of rambutan, and four kilos of dragonfruit and santol were served.

The fruits were served without any dressing to allow the public to taste and enjoy the natural flavors.

The local government broached the idea of coming up with the event following the other municipality’s success in featuring their own products — such as the largest strawberry shortcake of La Trinidad and the giant vegetable salad spearheaded by the La Trinidad Vegetable Traders Association.

Baldo said on its third year, the festival has proven to have a positive impact on the livelihood of the residents, encouraging more of them to plant and produce fruits of different varieties.

“There are now more residents who are planting, which shows a positive effect because many are also coming to Sablan to buy. This is good because it produces a positive effect to the livelihood of the residents,” he said.

During the opening day on September 2, a contest for the largest fruits and sweetest fruits were also held, aside from the agricultural trade fair, float parade featuring the town’s fruits, poster making, wall painting and ground demonstrations.

“We were encouraged to present also the richness of our harvest especially on fruits as other municipalities have largest serving of strawberry shortcake, that is why we decided to have a largest fruit salad,” said agricultural technologist Arthur Mariano. (Lauren Alimondo)