Contact Us
Century International Hotels



Tabak Festival:Tabak Festival:A celebration of cityhood
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: Jaser Isidro A. Marasigan
Date: 2002-04-06
The 1st cityhood anniversary of Tabaco City in Albay saw the birth of another one-of-a-kind festival. Tabak Festival, which was held recently, is the newest addition in the growing list of festivals being celebrated in the country, in the tradition of the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City and Ati-atihan Festival in Kalibo, Aklan.

Former Bacolod Representative John Orola is the moving force behind the Tabak Festival along with Tabac City Mayor Alex A. Burce and Albay-1st District Representative Cielo Krisel Lagman-Luistro, who is also the committee chair for Tourism in Congress.

The 5-day affair (March 20- 24) featured various activities to the delight of both local and foreign tourists (who came all the way from US, Europe and Japan) to witness another history-in-the-making.

The theme of the Festival is “Balik Tabakeños” which aims to let its people rediscover their roots. The theme commemorates not only its 1st cityhood anniversary on March 24, but also, recognizes its history and origin.

On its first day, an Ecumenical service was held gathering Christians, Moslems and Buddhists in a night of fellowship. This was followed by “Karawat Pinoy” which features indigenous games and sports participated in by both residents and visitors. A musical extravaganza followed.

A Culinary Arts Competition was held the day after. It was a venue for the Tabaqueños to share with the tourists their gift in concocting delectable viands and embellishing these dishes with the “lada” (sili) and “natok” (gata). Among the “feast for the eyes” and mouth-watering dishes and desserts prepared by the participants were: Arroz ala Seafoods, Camote Crab Roll Tabaqueño, Spicy Pili pas Torta, Tabaqueño Seafood Cabusi, Morcon de Bicolano, Linpil Flan Delight, and Carabasa con Pili Dulce.

Tabak Festival Street Presentation was the highlight of the celebration. Patterned after the Masskara Festival and Ati-atihan Festival, it was, at the same time, a street dancing competition which featured a medley of colorful attires and costumes performed by selected young and beauteous performers from several contingents. Choreographing the legendary tale which unearths the origin of the city’s name.

According to legend, when the Spanish conquistadores landed, they were met by a native, an irately jealous father who thought that they were taking away his beautiful daughter. At the top of his voice he shouted to his family, “Tabac Co! (My bolo!).” The Spaniards then christened the place “Tabaco” before they left.

The street presentation’s main feature was the different headdresses of the participants which were made from coconuts, corn and abaca, materials indigenous to the province. It was a showcase of the Tabaqueños’ genius in the cultural performing arts, their love for colors and their penchant for grand dramatic presentations.

Iriga City’s Sumagang Cultural Dance Group won 1st place, Best Costume and Best Choreography while Tabaco National High School and South Central Elementary School won 2nd and 3rd places, respectively.

Guest contingencies from the well-renowned Sinulog Festival of Cebu City, Pinyasan Festival of Daet in Camarines Norte, Kasanggayahan Festival of Sorsogon and Masskara Festival of Bacolod City, added color to the revelry.

Meanwhile, the Mutya ng Tabak Festival 2002 Pageant Night was held at the Tabaco National High School Auditorium. There were 20 candidates in the regional beauty tilt desired to put to light the Bicolana allure and their unique grace, charm and wit.

Culminating the festivities was the “Baile De Amor” (Dance of Love), a gathering of the sons and daughters of Tabaco in an evening of grand ballroom dancing and merry-making.

A Bicol Trade Fair and Exhibit was also held featuring Tabaco’s cutlery/metalcraft (scissors, knives, bolo and balisong), woodcraft and rattancraft (furniture and fixtures); ceramics; woven abaca products; delicacies such as pinangat, Bicol express and pili nuts; and all other vintage Tabaqueño crafts which are exported.

The Tabaco Port, the biggest international port in Southern Luzon, was the venue of the festivities.

Preparations for the Festival started as early as December. The plan was to make the festival a gathering to promote tourism and attract investors.

Orola was a former Tourism attaché for US and Europe for 2 years and is also the brains behind the Masskara Festival. According to him, an estimated R4 million was spent in mounting the said festival with R2 million coming from the city government and the rest from the private sector.

Orola saw the potential of Tabaco City as another tourist destination because of its strategic location making it the convergence point of Albay in the Bicol Region. Also, it can become a center of commerce in Albay to promote native products, such as tabak (bolo), for which it is popularly known.


Indonesia Thailand USA Europe Canada Hong Kong Philippines