In Isabela, over 100,000 hectares of cropland area are planted with corn, making the province the country's number one corn producer. Its fields of gold are dotted with bambanti—scarecrows created by Isabelans to fend off birds, pests, and other threats to their rice and corn plants.
"Often dressed in scary tatters and colorful hand-me-downs, the Bambanti exhibits the best about Isabela: its imposing beginnings, intense growth, and imminent dazzling future," a press release from the Provincial Government of Isabela said.
Since 1997, the province has celebrated the Bambanti Festival, an annual tourism, cultural and heritage event promoting Isabela as the country’s number one corn producer and as a great ecotourism destination.
Isabela's Bambanti Festival is an annual tourism, cultural and heritage event promoting the province as the country’s number one corn producer and as a great ecotourism destination.
The Bambanti Festival 2013 aims to showcase Isabela's rich heritage, its people's ingenuity and industry, and the unexplored beauty of its 35 towns and two cities.
“This year’s Bambanti Festival with the theme ‘The Magic of Isabela’ promises to be a grand display of the magic that is Isabela,” Bambanti Festival 2013 Executive Committee Chair Tony Pet Albano said in the release.
A highlight of the festival is the official unveiling of the Queen Isabella II monument, a tribute to Queen Isabella II, who the province was named after through a Royal Decree issued by the King of Spain on May 1, 1856.
There will be a historical tableau about the Queen and the Province of Isabela during the unveiling, which will be held in front of the Isabela Provincial Capitol in Ilagan City in a morning ceremony on January 27, 2013 at 9 a.m.
Isabela has many tourist attractions, including outdoor adventures such as cave exploration, beachcombing, and trekking.
Along the province's Pacific coastline, a 113-kilometer stretch of white sand lies at the foot of the Philippine's longest mountain range, the Sierra Madre. Home to the rare and endangered species like the Philippine Eagle, the Golden Crowned Flying Fox, the Green Sea Turtle and the Dugong, the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park is a biodiversity hotspot, and is the largest of 10 priority protected areas
in the country.
Visitors may also enjoy culinary excursions, sampling Ilagan’s binallay and patupat rice concoctions, Cauayan City’s mushroom products, and pancit Cabagan.
Isabelans from 35 towns and two cities will participate in the 2013 Bambanti Festival from January 27 to 30.
“With this festival, we hope to be able to unfold and reveal the hidden beauty and splendor of our province as admittedly, Isabela is not yet known to many,” Mary Ann Dy, First Lady of the Province of Isabela and co-chair of the festival’s executive committee, said in the release.
The four-day festival kicks off with “Mahiwagang Isabela,” a grand musical production with a cast of thousands from all over the province. There will also be an awarding of the Best Giant Magical Bambanti, the Most Creative Giant Magical Mask, the Best Street-Dance Contingent, and the Festival King and Queen.
During the festival, each town and city will display an agro-ecotourism booth, using only natural, organic and biodegradable materials indigenous to the province.
“More than just a grand showcase of the ‘pride of place,’ the rich cultural heritage and industry of the people of Isabela, the Bambanti Festival is celebrated primarily as a communal gesture of thanksgiving for the bountiful harvest and resiliency of the citizenry despite the occurrences of natural calamities and disasters that befall the province almost every year,” Governor Faustino “Bojie” G. Dy III said in the press release.
The government also hopes the P20-million festival will attract investors
to the province.
There will also be concerts featuring performances from Jed Madela and Vina Morales on January 29, 2013 and Sarah Geronimo, Christian Bautista and Jon Santos on January 30. —Carmela G. Lapeña/KG, GMA News
Photos from the Provincial Government of Isabela