MANILA-- The first-ever Tinindag Festival is poised to boost Taysan, Batangas' sustainable tourism pinned on nature adventure and culinary adventure, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Monday.

The week-long celebration of the 100th founding anniversary of Taysan, culminating into the Tinindag Festival, is a thanksgiving for the booming barbecue stick-making industry, a main source of livelihood for local residents.

“This is a very special event that can help boost nature adventure tourism and spiritual retreat in Taysan's lush greenery, virgin forests, rivers, the Bacao falls, and old churches like the San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish Church in Brgy. Dagatan,” said Maritess Castro, DOT Region 4A (Calabarzon) officer-in-charge.

She noted that DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also underscored the vital role of countryside communities like Taysan in advocating sustainable and inclusive tourism that generates jobs while ensuring environmental conservation.

Taysan Mayor Grande Gutierrez said the first Tinindag Festival was held on the occasion of the town's 100th founding anniversary, as the making of "tindagan" (bamboo stick or skewer) has developed into a viable cottage industry.

Gutierrez’s wife, Elizabeth, said the stick-making activity is a “unique Taysan family tradition”, as she herself was a product of "pag-iistik" (stick-making) and was able to get through college with the income her parents earned from it.

Hundreds of families in the second-class municipality of over 98,000 residents are engaged in the home-based manufacture of barbecue sticks, which are transported to Lipa City, Batangas, Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Pasig City, and other cities in Metro Manila.

“Stick-making is done in all Taysan’s 20 barangays but bulk of production comes from Barangay Pinagbayanan, Barangay Guinhawa and Barangay Piña,” said Leah Caguitla, 35, mother of six, who inherited her parents' stick-making business in Pinagbayanan.

Cristina Reganit, 28, started hers at age 18, along with her vegetable garden, poultry and hog-raising businesses.

The town's abundant bamboo-growing also supports "kubo" (nipa hut building) and cottage industries like "kaing" (basket) making and bamboo furniture craft.

The celebration was highlighted by tindagan-inspired street dancing performances by various barangay contingents, an agri-industrial fair, cultural song and dance presentations, sports events, a medical mission and the Balikbayan Gala Night.

The event also showcased a range of delicacies, including grilled pork, chicken barbecue, bananacue, camotecue (sweet potato), corn, "kwek-kwek" (breaded quail eggs), "bola-bola" (meatball), siomai, hotdog, kebab and "inihaw na bangus" (grilled milkfish) and squid, all skewered on bamboo sticks. (PNA)