The local government unit here is eyeing to boost its tourism by lining up activities for this year’s Pandan Festival, which include a cookfest, a dance contest, a triathlon, and the opening of a pasalubong (souvenir) center.
In an interview on Tuesday, Mayor Karl Christian Vega said the festival, which will run from March 18 to 25, is expected to draw more tourists this year following the ease of restriction in crowd gatherings.
He said one of the highlights of the festival is the Dulang Pandan or Pandan Cookfest which will showcase different cuisines that use pandan (screwpine) leaves as an ingredient.
Another highlight is the Parada na Dayew, or the Grand Street Dancing Competition, among the barangays.
“Our dancers have already competed in several festivals all over the country including the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio City,” he said.
Meanwhile, Vega said the launching of the Negosyo Center and the Pasalubong Center will be held alongside the opening program on March 16, with the support of the Department of Trade and Industry.
“Visitors and residents would be able to buy different pandan products and other products of the town at the Pasalubong Center,” he said.
The products made of pandan leaves include bags, baskets, planters, and many more.
Vega said they have intensified their campaign to encourage more farmers to grow pandan in their municipality as the demand for the leaves remains high.
The town derived its name from pandan, which historically has been known to grow abundantly in the area.
“We are providing the 15 barangays with more pandan seedlings to grow in their community garden along with the vegetables,” he said, adding that they are also advocating “clean and green surroundings.”
Another highlight of the festival is the Biskeg-Peles Mapandan Triathlon, which is among the sports activities the town is promoting alongside cycling and even water sports.
“We were lucky to have been granted a slope protection project that would further improve our river system (for the water sports),” he said.
The festival also includes the Mutya ng Mapandan featuring 15 candidates from different barangays, the Alumni Night, the Balikbayan Night, and the Zarzuela, among others, to encourage overseas Filipino workers to pay homage to their native town. (PNA)