The annual Magayon Festival, a month-long revelry featuring Albay’s rich culture and arts, culinary fare, native industries and natural wonders in the countryside, is back as a May time tradition in the province.
Governor Al Francis Bichara said the festival, now on its 17th year, was really originally scheduled in May until it was moved to April during the term of former Governor Joey Salceda.
“Albayanos working in other parts of the country, usually go home to attend their respective fiestas in their towns and barangays in May,” said Bichara.
He said “balikbayans,” who usually head back to Albay to celebrate their town fiestas, will have the chance to reunite with their families and townmates during the festival season, which opened on Monday.
“It will be a merry reunion with their loved ones,” Bichara said.
Highlighted during the festivities is the retelling of the legend of Mayon Volcano, which is referred to as a beautiful maiden or “Daragang Magayon” in local folklore, various versions of which have been popularized by Bicolano historian Professor Merito B. Espinas of the Bicol University here.
Mt. Mayon that towers at 2,462 meters above sea level has a nearly perfect shaped cone that is said to rival the beauty of Japan’s Mt. Fiji.
One of country’s most active volcanoes, Mayon is also one of the most popular tourist spots, drawing visitors from other parts of the country and even abroad.
A sightseeing tour of Mayon Volcano during the Magayon festival run has also been helping boost tourism and economic activities of those in the transport, restaurant, resort and hotel business in the province.
The Magayon festival is also a much-awaited event because of the sili-eating contest at the Peñaranda Park in Old Albay District here, which toasts the Bicolanos’ penchant for eating food served with the hot and spicy chili, popularly known as “sili” or “lada” in the dialect.
The contest also sealed the reputation of Iriberto Gonzales who was named the “sili king” of the Bicol region during the Magayon Festival in 2000.
Gonzales’ feat of chewing 350 pieces of raw sili within a three-minute period had landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Guinness records researcher Rasila Kuntawala confirmed Gonzales’ feat in their database and handed a certificate of confirmation to Gonzales through the Provincial Tourism and Cultural Affairs Office.
A native of Barangay (village) Quirangay in Camalig town, Gonzales was 28 years old when he joined the contest in 2000.
At that time the only other Filipino personalities who had been listed in the Guinness records were the former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos, who held a record for owning the most number of shoes in the world, and Paeng Nepomuceno for having the most number of World Cup titles in bowling.
Versions of the sili-eating contest in later editions of the Magayon Festival allowed the intake of water and banana in between mouthfuls of “Bicol Express,” a dish consisting of pork cooked in coconut milk but spiced with lots of sili.
Fiesta Señor and Sinulog 2018 Goes Digital
Amid the digital era, organizers of the Sinulog festival have decided to tap social media to help deliver the message on the real essence of the celebration, which is the devotion and gratitude to the Holy Child Jesus, Sto. Niño.
Sinulog Foundation Inc. has launched the Sinulog 2018 app, where users can plot their own Sinulog route and schedule, as well as take a good look at various Sinulog activities, parade contingents, and the official route maps.
The app also enables the user to vote for this year’s Sinulog festival queen of their choice.
“One of the goals for the Sinulog 2018 is to bring back the essence of Sinulog to the Sto. Niño, especially to the younger generation who generally just wants to party,” said Stephanie Villarica, Sinulog Foundation Inc. Marketing and Promotions head.
In coordination with the social media teams of the Cebu Provincial Government and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the organizers are also exerting efforts in expanding social media presence.
Both government institutions will serve as reliable sources and will provide real-time updates during the celebration.
Aside from downloading the Sinulog 2018 app, Sinulog head secretariat Fr. Ric Anthony Reyes also encourages the public to download prayer apps.
Dubbed as “Kalingawan sa Plaza,” nightly activities are held at the Plaza Independencia for free. Fresh farm produce are also sold around the area.
The organizers also stressed that there will no longer be booths and Sinulog activities held along the Fuente Osmeña circle.
The Cebu City Government recently banned all parties and sale of liquor within 300 meters of the route.
GCash to Raffle off 10 iPhone X for The SM Store Shoppers
The SM Store shoppers nationwide are in for a treat as GCash mobile wallet is set to raffle off 10 iPhone X from February to April this year.
To qualify, existing and new GCash App users just need to pay their The SM Store purchases using the GCash scan to pay feature which all The SM Stores in the country started accepting last December. Each single receipt value of at least P500 is equal to one raffle entry. Promo is valid on a monthly basis from January 15 to April 15, 2018 per DTI-FTEB Permit No.0579 Series of 2018.
Distribution of prizes, draw schedules, and valid entries are as follows:
Jan 15 – Feb 15, 2018
Feb 16 – March 15, 2018
March 16 – April 15, 2018
Feb 20, 2018
March 20, 2018
April 20, 2018
Number of iPhones
While monthly winners are no longer qualified for the succeeding raffle draws, others may still get a chance to win the following month by transacting using GCash scan to pay in The SM Store again.
The winners will be notified by GCash through registered mail, mobile number (SMS and phone call) for instructions on how to claim their prize. The announcement of raffle winners will also be done through the Official GCash Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/gcashofficial/) according to announcement schedule.
How to use GCash scan to pay:
- Download the GCash app on your smartphone and sign up, or update the GCash app to the latest version and login.
- Click “Pay QR” on the dashboard, then click “Scan QR Code” to access the QR scanner. You can also swipe left from the dashboard to access the scanner immediately.
- Scan to pay in The SM Store during payment
- Input the amount to be paid as stated by the merchant’s POS and frontliner
- Confirm the payment details of the transaction
- Upon success of payment, an sms will be received by the customer and the merchant front liner indicating that payment has been done.
Not yet a GCash subscriber? Register to GCash now by downloading the GCash App or by dialing *143#, select GCash and register.
Learn more about GCash by visiting www.gcash.com. Follow its social media channels: www.facebook.com/gcashofficial,www.twitter.com/gcashofficial, and www.instagram.com/gcashofficial.
Calape’s ‘Fishyalan’ Opens in February
In an effort to offer an alternative tour site to mall and resorts goers, the local government unit of Calape and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is set to open its ‘fishyalan’ next month.
Located at BFAR’s Central Visayas Multi-Species Nursery Demonstration and Training Center at Barangay Bentig, the ‘fishyalan’ is a unique place for visitors to hang out and learn new fisheries technology.
This way, BFAR can also better disseminate its advocacies, as well as information about its different programs and projects toward the development of the fisheries sector in the region.
Calape Information Officer Nicolas Sendrijas said when they open ‘fishyalan’ to the public, an entrance fee of P20/person will be collected.
The rate for children 12 years old below is P15, while rental for fishing gear with bait is P5 wherein visitors pay for the fish they catch.
They can opt to cook it there or they may bring it home.
Sendrijas, also the President of the Association of United Development Information Officers in Bohol (AUDIO-Bohol), held their first out-of-town Bisita Opisina and agency familiarization program hosted by LGU Calape at the Conference Room of BFAR’s Central Visayas Multi-Species Nursery Demonstration and Training Center on January 11.
The people’s organization, Bentig Farmers-Fishermen’s Association, is set to undergo a training on entrepreneurship to be conducted by the University of San Carlos (USC) Business Administration.
When operational and at the end of the fiscal year, the net income generated will be shared 50-50 between the PO and LGU Calape, according to Sendrijas.
As of now, worth P3 million of milkfish ( bangus, ) siganid (kitong) , pompano (talakitok) , tilapia, mangrove crab, and grouper (pugapo) have been stocked in the two fish ponds of fishyalan.
The Memorandum of Agreement for the operation of fishyalan was signed by Calape Mayor Nelson Yu and BFAR Regional Director Allan Poquita. (ecb/PIA7-Bohol)
Bikers Gear Up for Alicia’s Kinatkatay MTB Race 2018
Mountain bike enthusiasts poised to test their endurance and skill on a cross country off-road trail can now prepare for the 2nd Alicia Mountain Bike Festival’s Kinatkatay sa Binabaje set on February 11, 2018.
Set to take to the 12-kilometer trail from the Alicia town hall to Cambaol, exit the dirt road to single track trails past the police camp to Binabaje and then back to the barangay roads and then to the starting line, this year’s endurance challenge is a part of Alicia’s Founding Anniversary activities.
Opened for amateur and professional mountain bike enthusiasts, Kinatkatay sa Binabaje’s 12-kilometer course is a mixture of flat back country roads, creek crossings, sloping ascents, and wicked uphill segments complete with loose rocks, sandy loam, and technical rampage quality descents that make the gruelling climb worth it, assured race organizers.
Although not that tough for professionals, organizers however cautioned that the trail is not for the weak of will.
After all, the course has climbing segments touted as one Bohol’s most challenging uphill climbs.
The top of the hills, however, offer a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the towns of Alicia, Talibon, Ubay, Mabini and Candijay, and the Bohol Sea.
Set to rip the trails of The Alicia Panoramic Park (TAPP), Kinatkatay is the second in the XTERRA quality bike segment race held at the rolling hills of Cambaol where the trails get one to one of Bohol’s most panoramic top of the mountain sights.
TAPP is also the venue for the first TAPP Trail Run, which could be the first of the series of annual battle of wills and endurance among off road trail runners.
The first Kinatkatay sa Binabaje held last year attracted cross country and enduro mountain-bike enthusiasts from across the region, and this year organizers expect a larger group.
Interested bikers can contact organizers at Alicia Unfolds on Facebook for details. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
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