PEOPLE, PLACES & EVENTS
“APAYAO’S ECONOMY DEPENDS ON FARMERS”
Story and photos by N.A. Rodriguez Jr.
As soon as booths had been set-up and were opened for public viewing and marketing, the huge crowd gathered around in each of the competing beautiful booths from the seven municipalities of Apayao — taking a glimpse and what else but ‘selfie-ing’ and right there and then Facebook was inundated with amazing scenes on the ongoing Agro-Industrial Trade & Tourism Fair activities here at the Plaza Grounds of Kabugao, the hosting town for the 22nd Apayao Founding Anniversary on Feb. 12-13.
Such sights and interactions are an upshot of this annual activity — promoting unintentionally by the people themselves, thus, helping the provincial government the needed push in its advertising campaigns.
Governor Elias C. Bulut Jr. said that the future of Apayao’s economic well-being lies on the ability of the province to be more productive in agriculture and the fair is just a way of boosting efforts to promote tourism.
“We have to advertise it (our local products),” said Bulut during the formal opening ceremonies of the agri-trade fair.
Bulut recalled that for the past 22 years the province has been competing mainly for best decoration of the booths and asked “kinapintas wennu kinnaadu ti produkto ti paglalabanan tayo.”
“This fair is to encourage our farmers. One of the problems before is farm to market roads. Nagbunga dagidiay nga saludsod tayo. We can now bring our products to our neighboring provinces like Cagayan, Isabela and Ilocos Norte,” the Governor said.
Farm-to market road
This is in reference to the newly-concreted Pudtol-Calanasan via Paco Valley national high-way which cuts the six-hour trip from the Capitol via Tuguegarao and Conner to just two hours.
He said that the venue for Apayao Day is not in Capitol this time because “we want to show what has been the difference in terms of infrastructure like the road via Paco Valley. Next is Calanasan. Saan nga nasayang digidiay plano to nagannak tayo. Gapu ti kinarigat ti panagbiag tayo nga taga Apayao ket nasken met nga rumang-ay tayo,” the governor said.
He said that these are the challenges for our agriculturist and wants that the provincial government should have an agricultural plan that would advance further the interest of the local farmers.
Banana, he said, is already highly recognized in the province but this has to be sustained and make an effort to increase production.
Challenge to local farmers
“There must be a study for the plight of our farmers. We should ask them what help can the leaders give to them. The farmers should tell the agriculturist what to develop. This is the challenge to the farmers,” he said.
Bulut said that the roads and irrigation system are now in placed. “Now what should be done to agriculture industry? We will have to invite buyers from outside of the province.” He expects that bigger volume of products be displayed in next year’s celebration of Apayao Day.
Lone District Representative Eleanor Bulut Begtang, after rounding-off the different booths said she recognized the fact that Apayao has plenty of products to offer saying this is the only way for the Iapayaos (Apayao people) to uplift their living conditions.
“Itultuloy tayo nga paadwen ta isu ti agkurkurang kadatayo. Napapintasen ti kalsada. Problema nu kasanu nga makipag-compete iti bangbangir nga probinsya kas iti Cagayan,” she said.
She urged the people to continue celebrating the fruits of development in the Province at the same time honor what her father, the late Elias K. Bulut Sr., had started.
Kabugao wins booth contest
With fresh bananas as its main feature that shaped like a mountain, Kabugao, which hosted the event for the second time, won the first prize worth P500,000 intended for livelihood project plus cash prize of P50,000.
Conner, boasting of its best-selling Bugnay Wine, took the second prize worth P400,000 for livelihood and additional cash of P40,000.
Flora’s booth 3rd for 300K livelihood
Flora, which made the façade of the town’s main building as its booth’s theme and a life size image of Mayor Rodolfo B. Juan carrying a carabao in front, settled for third prize worth P300,000 for livelihood plus P30,000 cash.
Products found inside the booth include dishwashing liquid, fabric softener pillow case, wines made of lubeg, calamansi, santol and banana by the Flora Women’s Federation and assisted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST); handicrafts from Mallig; home décor from Bagutong; the famous soft broom from San Jose: and itlog-pugo from Poblacion East and assorted vegetables and fruits.
Pudtol’s Aliwa remains instant hit
Pudtol’s famous Aliwa (a native Isnag farming implement) is always a hit among buyers but it has also a variety of products from the Pudtol Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries and Multi-Purpose Cooperative assisted by DOST and DAR. These include roasted rice coffee, powdered sili, pineapple vinegar, bugnay wine, handicrafts made of buri leaves.
Luna also produces bugnay wine by the Balikatan and native baskets from Marag Valley assisted by the MSWD.
Delicacies made of cassava were sold out instantly after all Sta. Marcela is known for its Balungkuy Festival. The products came from the NGO Saranay MPCI and privately-owned Rebiajos and VFM food products. It has also handicrafts made of water lily leaves (zigra) as well as different kinds of vegetables and root crops.
Calanasan’s pinaltit is unique
Calanasan products are also the results of hard work from mass-based organizations that are assisted by DOST and DTI.
Pinaltit is unique. It is an appetizer extracted from coconut oil with ground pepper, ground meat, flavored with pomelo leaves and spices and cooked dry.
The native basi and red rice remain in the list. Others are glutinous rice, barako coffee (bio-health drink), root crops (peanuts, habicuelas, string beans), handicrafts (market basket), root crops (ginger, gabi, turmeric).
Out of these root crops, Calanasan produces herbal products such as turmeric tea san, ginger tea san, pure turmeric powder that can be put while cooking rice — it is medicinal and good for cleansing or prevents common illnesses.
Kabugao’s winning booth was full of vegetables such as bitwelas (Baguio beans), pechay, balangkuy, gabi, camote, eggplant, squash, upo, sayote and of course puso ng saging. They have also handmade bags made of colorful native fabric. Pinaltit, native vinegar and powdered pepper were also on sale.
Best selling Bugnay Wine
Aside from Conner’s fast-selling bugnay wine, dried bananas, handicrafts and home décor were available.
Part of the activity were the booth from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Apayao State College, Isagadan Crafts and Souvenirs shop from Pudtol, Gasatan Food Products from Conner, Heartland Meat and Food from Pudtol and A.Y. Handicrafts from Ifugao.
Aside from the agro-industrial trade and tourism fair, 22nd Apayao Day activities also include the float parade on Feb. 13 at the same spot where the booths were set-up with the contestants of Dayag Ti Apayao 2017 on top of the different floats; men’s basketball at the newly-renovated Kabugao Municipal Gymnasium; Indigenous Games (Panagga-angrad) and cultural presentation and street dance competition.
Street dancers from Pudtol grabbed the top award, Sta. Marcela second and Calanasan third while Flora and the rest barged into the consolation bracket.
Before that, a motorcade from the Capitol in San Isidro, Luna to to Kabugao via Pudtol and Paco Valley kicked-off the festivities on Feb. 12.
Participants had a stopover at sitio Kalliat in Barangay Lenneng for the lunch. It was here that provincial government officials formally signed the resolution establishing EKB as the Philippines’ newest barangay in honor of the late Elias K. Bulut Sr.
Rep. Bulut-Begtang congratulated the town of Kabugao for the successful, happy and peace and order hosting.
“Kahit wala na ang ating Ama, nakikita ko na ‘naragsak’ (happy) tayo. I am so inspired. Makita tayo nga saan nga pulitika nu ketdi ayat ken panagkaykaysa. Daytuy ti mangted ti (political) will nga mangitultuloy ti nairugi da nga pangpaduras ti Apayaoi,” she said.
She said that in Congress “saan tayo nga maudi nga maaddaan ti pondo adding that on the list of projects included seven major bridges that will connect all the municipalities.
She said that her late father chose Feb. 14 or Valentines Day as Apayao Day because he wants that through love it is a way to progress.
This “Legacy of Love” must be used to give genuine service to the IAPAYAOS. She closed her message by saying that in Apayao there is Forever Love. KN