Sto. Tomas rolls out longest corn barbecue
STO. TOMAS, Pangasinan (6 February) -- The countdown is finally on for the staging of the world's longest corn barbecue measuring 4,938 meters set in the afternoon of February 10 as part of this town's Corn Festival.
The corn barbecue grill event will be top feature of the town's 100th year founding anniversary celebration, Mayor Vivien Villar, executive chairperson of the Centennial Celebration, said the putting up of the close to five kilometer barbecue is a big challenge but she is confident that with the support of the town's more than 17,000 population, nothing can stop them from making it to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Corn is the chief product after rice in Sto. Tomas, a town in Southern Pangasinan dominated by the Ilocanos, located just south of the Agno River.
Villar admitted that she and the other town officials, including the people, started planning the activity as early as four years ago in time for the town's centennial celebration but it was only last year that the plan was put into flesh.
"With all of us working for a common goal, we cannot fail, said the lady mayor in an interview.
"Vice Mayor Timoteo Villar executive vice chairperson, said the actual corn barbecue extends from the border of Sto.Tomas with Rosales in the east and the town's boundary with Alcala in the west, passing all 10 barangays of the town.
The effort seeks to break the existing world record of just two kilometers for corn barbecue etched in the Guinness Book by Monzillo, Mexico.
Rep. Mark Cojuangco of the fifth district of Pangasinan and the wife of Urdaneta City Mayor Amadeo Perez Jr. have been invited to do the honors of lighting the grill units signaling the start of the grilling and capping the town's Corn Festival.
The town is assured that its bid for the world's longest barbecue will count based on the entry number sent by Guinness as soon as it sent its registration.
There will be 2,024 grill units to be used in the record-breaking feat, each unit to barbecue 60 ears of corn or a total of 121,444 ears, all to be laid out and cooked in embers of charcoal at one time. Some 800 sacks of charcoal will be purchased all the way from Burgos, Pangasinan, and 1,050 liters of kerosene will be used.
All these will be manned by more than 7,000 grillers, including the supervisors. There will be more than 1,000 marshals deployed to control the crowd of some 100,000 people, a few of them balikbayan.
At least 100 uniformed policemen will also be deployed to maintain peace and order in the whole town, including another 200 volunteer traffic men to guide vehicles to the detour route towards and out of the town.
Cris Balila, the town's agriculture officer, said after the first wave of corn consisting of 121,444 ears had been barbecued, two more waves will be laid out over the charcoal. Thus more than 300,000 ears is needed for the whole event.
He said this big number of corn ears will come from only six hectares of corn fields, each hectare of which will produce more than 50,000 ears.
Planted in the town is the hybrid glutinous variety of corn, which is capable of producing as much as 50,000 ears per hectare and could be harvested 60 days after planting, said Balila.
It takes 20 minutes to barbecue each wave of corn to laid out in the grilling units or exactly one hour for the entire activity.
Vice Mayor Villar said just to make sure that all plans will be executed up to the minutest details, they had conducted five dry runs since last year, including a briefing for all the participants. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]