MABALACAT CITY -- Officials here announced Monday that a bigger and more festive Caragan Festival is slated on February 28.
The festival, which is held every fourth week of February as part of the month-long feast celebration, is expected to draw thousands of tourists.
"Again we will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the vibrant city," Mabalacat City Mayor Marino Morales said.
The mayor initiated the festival to lift the spirits of Mabalaquenos who were hardly hit by natural calamities, including the Mount Pinatubo eruptions and pull out of United States forces at the former Clark Air Base.
Diosdado Pangilinan, co-chair of the festival, said the event is supported by the Mabalacat City Water District, the Sangguniang Panglunsod, the Mabalacat Performing Arts, Department of Education, local schools and colleges, Mabalacat Traffic Enforcement Group MTEG DPWH, transport groups, local police and businessmen.
Festival chairman Jun Magbalot said the festival parade will start in the afternoon along the McArthur Highway. It will end at the Xevera Mabalacat where more presentations will be held by student participants.
"The festival will feature street dances during the parade – a festive mardi gras that depicts the rich cultural heritage of the people of Mabalacat particularly the Aetas, being one of the original inhabitants of the area," said Magbalot.
"The Caragan Festival was already put Mabalacat City in the map of the Department of Tourism and more visitors are awaiting the holding of the impressive cultural event," he added.
The festival is named after the first chieftain of Mabalacat called “Garagan” an Aeta which was married to a Mabalaquena named Laureana Tolentino.
The ethnic Aeta group lorded over Mabalacat before they dwindled in population as modernization sets in.
Around 5,000 students will join the street dance completion, said Magbalot.