Festivals Galore In Bountiful Bicol

Summer may be officially over with the onset of the rainy season, but the fun still continues this June in the bountiful Bicol region with its colorful array of festivities to bring to the fore its rich cultural legacy.

Festivities kick off with the month-long Pulang Angui Festival of Polangui which relives the town's humble beginnings. Coinciding with the patronal fiesta of Sts. Peter and Paul, the locus of the fest is the street parade on June 25 which relives the legend of Pulang Angui, a beautiful maiden during the town's olden days after whom the municipality is named after.

Merry-making shifts to Camalig for the Pinangat Festival which runs from June 10-24 and will bring to the fore its culinary pride-the pinangat.

Regarded as a signature Bicol delicacy, pinangat is a vegetable dish of shredded gabi leaves, red ginger, tiny shrimps (balaw) or a slice of salted fish or pork and crushed pepper. It is then wrapped in gabi leaves, tied in bundles and cooked in coconut milk.

This delicacy gets upsized into gigantic servings with the Biggest Pinangat Making Contest on June 15, as street dancers dramatize the pinangat harvest and cooking process in a grand parade.

Acknowledged as Albay's heritage town, Camalig is known for its ancestral houses, archaeological sites and the postcard-pretty St. John Church which serves as repository of pre-Spanish relics.

Down south, Gubat, Sorsogon will observe the Ginubat Festival on June 11-12 to coincide with the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. Situated on the Pacific seaboard of the Bicolandia, Gubat is a resort town with its long stretches of fine beaches.

Over at Dimasalang, Masbate, the town marks the 109th Adlaw san Dimasalang from June 15-19 to promote its cultural and natural heritage, which includes the best-kept secrets of Magcaraguit and Deagan Islands.

On June 16-25, it is Tabaco City's turn to shine with the 10th Tabak Festival which will focus on the city's booming cutlery industry. Dubbed as the country's "cutlery capital" Tabaco is a major producer of quality scissors, knives and bolos because of its skilled blacksmiths.

Festivities reach fever pitch on June 22 with the Tabak Street Dance Competition which will retrace the origin of the city's popular craft. The evening rocks with an entertainment-filled City of Love's Constellation of Stars.

Meanwhile, it will be a triple celebration in Daet, Camarines Norte as the town marks its 429th founding day on June 15, the 20th Pinyasan Festival on June 23, and the culmination of the Quadricentennial Jubilee of the St. John the Baptist Parish Church on the 24th.

Department of Tourism regional director Maria Ong-Ravanilla said that the above festivals will further strengthen the region's position as among the fastest-growing tourist hideaways because of its vibrant culture which makes it year-round destination.

She also revealed the recent formation of the Albay-Sorsogon-Masbate (AlSorMas) Tourism Alliance which aims to synergize the travel potentials of the three Bicol provinces.

Visit www.gayonbicol.com for details or add DoT Bicol on Facebook.