It is said that in the Philippines have at least one festival or fiesta somewhere in the country every single day. With over 7 thousand islands there sure is one waiting for you! The most famous ones namely Sinulog, Dinagyang and Panagbenga are all great but sometimes it gets too crowded and you just can’t enjoy the parade.
The Bambanti Festival celebrates Isabela’s agricultural heritage hence the Bambanti which is the Ilocano word for Scarecrows. The week long festival starts with its agricultural shows, competition and exhibits. This showcases the province’s advancements when it comes to agriculture and how it enables them to raise the bar of food security for the country. It is ideal to see this part of the festival as it will let you discover the business potential that there is for you in Isabela.
Aside from these exhibition, the best part of the festival comes on its last two days. The street dancing competition and the dance show down occurs a day before the closing ceremonies which is also something to watch for. Almost each of the 15 municipalities and cities of the province sends their delegation to compete, while repressenting their individual festivals in their own towns. It is almost like a competition of what the best festival is in the province! You can actually have a glimpse of what each town offers when it comes to feasts!
See what Isabela has to offer in terms of advances to agricultural opportunities. Visit the Bambanti Village composed of booths made up of Isabela’s agricultural produce. It actually reminded me of the Pasadena Rose Parade and the Panagbenga where floats are made up of flowers and seeds, this however is far more extravagant including vegetables and crops as materials in constructing their booths.
Teams are challenge to dance to a single song playing while showing their creativity and uniqueness. I just love their costumes specially the Cauayan City delagation all dressed up as scarecrows!
On a more modern note, contestants showed their acrobatic skills as they try to snag the coveted title of being the best dance crew in the province.
Dance Show Down
Probably my favorite part of the festival is the dance show down among the municpalities of Isabela. Each contingent showcased stories from their towns with colorful costumes and energetic dance routines.
Festival Kings and Queens
The festival also picked their Festival king and queen. Each delegate’s festival costume will just make you admire their creativity and taste.
But it doesn’t stop there, to be the festival royalty for the year you don’t just have to look good; you also need to be talented!
Of course what everybody was waiting for is the festival’s culmination concert. It was a star studded night! Present that night to entertain are PBB’s Myrtle Sarrosa, Kristof Garcia and the Pinoy Boyband Superstar winners. The highlight of the concert night though was the four exquisite divas of the Sunday show ASAP – KZ Tandingan, Kyla, Angeline Quinto and Yeng Constantino.
No wonder people refer to it as the grandest festival of northern luzon, The Bambanti festival does deliver to this title. It has won 2 Aliw awards for the best festival performance consecutively for the past two years and it really shows. I honestly was overwhelmed with how much effort has been put to this festival. The program was so tight that there are no dull moments. It was a world class production indeed, resonating their theme for this year as Isabela for the World. Forgive me for rambling so much about this but, I just cant help to express how surprisingly awesome the show was and not a lot of people know about this!
Fittingly the festivities was closed with a bang by a fabulous fireworks display that lit up the night sky of Isabela!