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Bambanti Festival celebrates Isabela for the Universe

Vibrant costumes mark the Bambanti Festival dance competitions

The province of Isabela recently held the Bambanti Festival 2017, which depicts the blossoming of Isabela as an outstanding province in the Philippines.

The annual festival organized by the provincial government highlights Isabela’s community life, history, and heritage through a celebration of the province’s rich harvest, bountiful produce and colorful culture.

Held recently, from Jan. 23 to 28, Bambanti Festival 2017 was a tourism, trade, investment and environment project featuring the province’s various indigenous world-class products, lifestyle merchandise items and cuisine as pride of place.

The festival’s theme, “Isabela for the Universe,” celebrated the successes that the province has enjoyed and proudly shares with the world. It aims to become a template for economic growth, socio-cultural development, disaster preparedness, and the agriculture productivity of the community.

It was a showcase of Isabela’s universal love—its love and respect for fellow Isabeleños, for the community, for the province (its natural resources, culture, agriculture, industries). This is what the province offers to the whole of mankind, and to the universe.

Since its beginnings, the Bambanti Festival has been represented by the scarecrow as its mascot and token icon, “bambanti” being the Ilocano word for scarecrow. While Western culture has assigned the scarecrow an image that stirs fright, the bambanti in Isabela stands as a representation of protection.

Made of straw and grass, wrapped in farmer’s clothing, the bambanti is placed in the middle of the fields to prevent the birds from coming and ensure a good and abundant harvest. During the weeklong festival, the bambanti becomes the focus of the celebration of thanksgiving.

Visitors enjoyed a wide array of activities during the festval’s recent staging, which included the province-wide Giant Bambanti Showcase; Bambanti Street Dance and Showdown Competition; youth talents in Bambanti Musical Street; Isabela’s very own Hip-Hop BBoy Group Dance Competition; Search for Bambanti Festival King and Queen; an Agri-Ecotourism Exhibit and Sale, among others.

For more information on the Bambanti Festival and the province of Isabela, contact the Office of the Provincial Administrator at (078) 323-1073 or visit www.isabela.ph