Zambales celebrates 9th Carabao Mango Festival

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    IBA, Zambales – Zambaleño culture, products and tourism are again the focus of the annual Zambales Mango Festival which kicked off at the provincial capitol grounds Wednesday.

    Although the place was soaked with strange summer rains, this  failed to dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators and visitors alike and the festivities aimed at promoting a showcase of friendly people, rich culture and the famous “Manggang Kinalabaw,” known all over the world as the sweetest variety found only in Zambales.

    Now on its 9th year, the festival this year highlights the selection of a Mutya ng Mango Festival 2009 to promote the rehabilitation of the mango industry which was severely damaged by last year’s Typhoon Cosme.

    Mango seeds will be generated by using them as voting tools for the Mutya candidates. To give emphasis to the objective, 50 percent of the total criteria for judging the pageant will come from the number of seed votes generated by the contestant.

    Librada Guevarra, festival coordinator and tourism officer, said instead of the usual vote casting and counting this time it will be mango seeds counting. ”Mas madaming buto mas panalo,” she added.

    The mango seeds gathered during the competition will be grown into seedlings which will then be distributed to farmers, especially those who were hardest hit by last year’s typhoon.

    According to data from the Department of Agriculture, about 16,000 fruit-bearing trees, many of which were centuries old, were uprooted by the onslaught of Typhoon Cosme.

    Zambales Governor Amor D. Deloso explained that he intends to curb the culture of “Binibining Bikini” contest and instead focus on how the province will be able to rehabilitate, promote and sustain its major industry, the globally renowned “Kinalabaw Mango”.

    “This is a two-pronged campaign actually. First, for the people to get involved with the province’s efforts in the development of the mango industry and second, is for visitors, tourists and locals alike, to enjoy what Zambales has to offer for them,”  Deloso said.

    The governor added that Zambles, being a summer spectacle, is also eyeing the prospect of being tagged as the “Beach Capital” of Central Luzon and a perfect haven for summer activities including water sports, mountain climbing and spelunking complemented by the province’ pristine beaches and natural tourist spots like the multiple chambered, unexplored “Sagrada Familia Cave” in Sta.Cruz town, the 7000-ft. Mt. Tapulao which holds in bonsai trees on a 10-hectare area at its summit, and the world-renowned Mount Pinatubo of Botolan

    In line with the aim of luring foreigners and local vacationers to its seashores, skim-boarding contest and the search for the top 3 local restaurants and top 3 clean and green resort competitions will be held.

    At the tailend of the festival, residents and patrons including government  officials and local leaders, are expected to ink an accord declaring Zambales as a “zone of peace and vacation capital of Central Luzon.”

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