LA CASTELLANA, Negros Occidental – After production suffered last year due to the destruction brought by Typhoon Odette, this central Negros town bounces back with another year of the Banana Festival, showcasing more varieties produced by growers from all its 13 villages.
Kicking off on Saturday, the five-day agro-trade festival is being held for the first time at the Mandayao Panorama Park in Barangay Mansalanao, a hilly area with a scenic view of Mt. Kanlaon.
Mayor Rhummyla Nicor-Mangilimutan said that after banana farms were destroyed by the super typhoon in December 2021, it has not been easy to restore the plantations.
"But through our agriculture office, and with the aid of the Department of Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform and other agencies, we can show that La Castellana is working fast for our agricultural development," she added.
Through their agricultural programs, Nicor-Mangilimutan said they would be able to support the food security goal of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.
The mayor said that to ensure the supply of bananas in their municipality, they regulate the selling of the commodity to other areas.
"At the same time, we urge the farmers to replant bananas so we will not have to get supply from other localities," she added.
Many of the backyard type banana farms are located in the villages of Cabagnaan, Sag-ang, Mansalanao, and Masulog, which mostly produce the cardaba variety locally known as “sab-a,” which is also made into banana sticks or strips of various flavors.
This year, displayed in the barangay booths are several varieties as well such as "latundan," "balangon," "arnibal," "tindok", "morado", "stampilco", "milagrosa", and "domeno".
A thousand fingers variety, which is clumps of banana with an individual size of only one and a half inches, was also exhibited.
Nicor-Mangilimutan said town residents have been looking forward to the latest staging of the Banana Festival now that face-to-face mass gatherings are no longer restricted.
"We now have a bigger venue. Everyone is excited this year. We almost don't have Covid-19 cases anymore. Almost all our constituents are already vaccinated," she added.
The Liga ng Mga Barangay, the main organizer of festival, plans to make the Panorama Park the festival's permanent site since the area is being developed as a year-round tourist attraction.
The park has waterfalls, leaf garden, religious structures, and a line of coffee shops,
"The plans emanate from the Liga. They want to have permanent structures. We support them, they were provided PHP250,000 each and they will just have to improve it on their own," the mayor added. (PNA)