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Lobo holds harvest festival as it celebrates townhood anniv
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: By Lynda B. Valencia
Date: 2004-10-09
LOBO, Batangas (PNA) – An agricultural town about 34 kilometers away from Batangas City, Lobo, the sugar capital of the Philippines, is a fast growing municipality. It used to be timberlands with logging activities done by early settlers.

This legendary town is blessed with nature’s fascinating wonders and rich resources such as the presence of green lush mountains adorned with tall trees, magnificent beaches with extensive coastline, and exciting ravines similar to that found in Baguio City.

Complementary to the richness of this town’s natural resources is a vast reservoir of a bountiful agricultural produce that include among others, coconut, corn, root crops, a variety of vegetables, marine resources, tamarind, mangoes bananas and atis fruits found to be the sweetest all over the Philippines.

These and many more prompted the local officials headed by Mayor Virgilio R. Manalo to proceed to its vision of embarking on programs towards tourism development.

Since the founding anniversary falls within September, the local officials decided to celebrate it with the Anihan Festival. The festival meant not only as a form of thanksgiving for the year-round bountiful harvest but also a tribute to the farmers whose efforts became a significant factor in the success of agricultural output and development.

Anihan Festival now on its fifth year has become the main attraction and landmark activity of Lobo’s founding anniversary. It has drawn people from nearby towns and provinces creating trade and job opportunities to the local residents.

Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace’’ Durano said, “In order to revitalize thebenefits of tourism in the country’s socio-economic development of the destination, it is a must that we continue to create and develop tourism products, natural and man-made attractions such as festivals and events.’’

“These are some of the things that draw people in the area. The distance of the place should not be a deterrent to make the town a tourist destination,’’ added Durano.

The festivity started in 2003 under then Mayor Renato M. Perez by way of a project dubbed as “Malusog na Barangay.’’ This was successfully carried out and participated by the municipality’s 26 barangays.

The event was conceived mainly for exhibiting the different agricultural products of every barangay. Each of the barangay had floats that have been creatively using these products.

The idea of incorporating the street dancing competition similar to other festivals in other parts of the country was finally conceptualized. During the festival this year, some 18 elementary schools and 26 barangays participated in the activities.

The event features a competition among the different elementary schools.

The dance entries of every participating group exclusively manifested the customs and traditions distinctively performed by the townsfolk during planting and harvest season.

To add color and originality to the event, the participants are then encourage to wear costumes using indigenous materials out of different agricultural products.

One cannot just imagine the magnitude of effort being applied to every set of costume that had been utilized by 30 to 40 pupils from each participating school as exemplified by materials such as corn kernels, dried leaves, banig, coconut flowers and shells, tingting sticks, dried banana tree bark (saba), buntal from buli bark seashells, kalbang trees, atis seeds, and many others, depending upon the imaginative and creative talents of the teacher-in-charge of this activity.

Lobo is 18,268 hectares or 192.68 sq. kilometers. Of the 19,268 hectares, 14,933,4782 are agricultural areas. It has a total population of 35,112 as of 2002. Blessed with rich natural resources, Lobo’s forest land comprise 4,366.8 hectares, integrated social forestry area of 2,100 hectares and grazing area of 1,585.6 hectares. (PNA)


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