Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bangus fest is non-working holiday

By Dave Paragas

DAGUPAN CITY – President Benigno Aquino III issued on April 11 Proclamation No. 570 declaring April 30, 2013 as special non-working holiday here to enable Dagupeños and visitors (local and foreign) to take part in the internationally-acclaimed Bangus Festival scheduled on that day.
A copy of the proclamation received by Mayor Benjamin S. Lim from Aquino’s Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa said “it is but fitting and proper to give the people of Dagupan full opportunity to celebrate the occasion with appropriate ceremonies.”
A brainchild of Lim, the three-week festival kicked off with ceremonies at SM Rosales on April 20 and will culminate on May 5 this year. “We are greatly honored by President Aquino’s gesture of support to the Bangus Festival,” Lim said in reaction to the proclamation. First celebrated in 2002, the festival was initiated by Lim to showcase the local bangus industry and promote Dagupan as the Bangus Capital of the World Initially staged as part of the thanksgiving activity of the sea festival known as Pista’y Dayat, the Bangus Fest developed into a three-week socio-economic program of street parties that highlight the city’s top marine product.
 Its centerpiece dubbed as Kalutan ed Dalan involves the lighting of 1,000 barbecue grills lined up to cook thousands of bangus, which stretch up to two kilometers. It won for the city a recognition in the Guinness Book of World records as the world’s longest barbecue in 2003. The event also serves as a competition for hundreds of cooks, whose dishes are not only judged by the grilling, but through whipping up the tastiest and most creative way of serving bangus.
 The contest was eventually called “101 Ways to Cook Bangus” and won also for the city a recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records. Re-electionist Councilor Alvin Coquia, festival executive committee chairman, assured that despite the “political effect” of the historic occasion on May 13 elections, the celebration must “freely be participated, cheered and enjoyed by the people, for they are the reason why this event is being held.” “We, in the government, are all duty-bound to serve our people in best ways we can. And that’s why we have this festival, as conceptualized by Mayor Lim, to give back to them the trust and privileges they have bestowed upon us,” Coquia said.
 Echoing Coquia’s statements, event consultant Gilbert Cerezo pointed out that “our yearly bangus festival doesn’t have to be related with politics, because as we can see, the international media sees this occasion, as more of a celebration that unites us, rather than divides us.” “So, let’s enjoy the party together!” Executive Vice Chairmen Anne Ang and Bobby Llamas exclaimed.

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