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TURNOVER CEREMONY. Outgoing regional director Ma. Gloria A. Tango (2nd from right) and assistant regional director Joel M. Gonzales (rightmost) of Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) 12 handed the ISO certification to incoming regional director Chona M. Mantilla and assistant regional director Yahya “Yang” A. Centi on January 30, 2012 during the turnover of command of DOLE 12. Mantilla assumes as regional director on February 1. (DED/RTLacibal/PIA12)

PIA Press Release
Monday, January 30, 2012

Feature: Celebrating nature’s bountiful wealth in Maitum’s 5th Bangsi Festival

by CT Apelacio

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Jan. 30 (PIA)---Maitum’s 5th Bangsi Festival offered more fun this year as it opened Thursday (Jan 26) to celebrate the bountiful wealth of the sea and the lush forest that Mother Nature endowed to the town.

Maitum is one of the seven municipalities of Sarangani that has advanced itself as one of the promising tourist destinations of the province so far.

The event which carries the theme“Yamang Dagat Pahalagahan, Kalikasan Pangalagaan” kicked off with coastal clean up at Yabes beach a day before it started, said municipal accountant and information officer Beth Ramos.

“Kung di natin protektahan ang karagatan, there’ll be no festival to celebrate anymore kasi wala ng mahuhuling bangsi (flying fish)---and this of course includes first and foremost the protection and preservation of the upland environment,” she said.

Bangsi Festival is celebrated annually to honor the town's fisherfolk. Maitum’s coastal communities are engaged in fishing- mainly flying fish which is abundant in the area.

Ramos said bangsi is a leading product of the town. “In fact it is Maitum's One Town One Product (OTOP) for a long time now making the municipality a top producer of marinated flying fish, locally known as bulad, in SOCKSARGEN.”

As OTOP area, Maitum produces in large scale the so-called “marinated and half dried flying fish,” a value-added by-product that provides lucrative income to coastal residents as the brand turned “popular pasalubong and breakfast fare” for travelers and excursionists.

Ramos said almost all coastal households—thousands of them “depend on bangsi industry” for livelihood. She said it’s usually the women or the wives who are involved in fish drying and marinating while their men or husbands are into fishing.

On Friday (Jan 27), the culmination day, residents and festival guests basked at a ton of fresh flying fish distributed for the bangsi street grilling (Sugba-sugba sa Dalan) held at the town’s main road.

Sarangani photojournalist Cocoy Sexcion said the “guests and visitors were enjoined to grill and eat all they can for free.”

“Rain or shine the bangsi festival rocks. The warmth of the people, the delectable delicacies, the green surroundings and kaing (eating) full of bangsi wrap up in a colorful festival activities create a memorable experience. I will be more than glad to come back,” said CPA-Lawyer Lit Anyog.

Governor Migs Dominguez and Congressman Manny Pacquiao also joined town officials in the celebration.

The celebration was capped by a street dancing showdown which was won by the dancing troupe from Edenton Mission College, Incorporated-college department. The first runner-up title was awarded to the high school department of the same school.

Another noteworthy highlight of the festival was the Maitum Photo Safari, now on its 8-year of capturing the rich culture and heritage of Maitum.

Organizer Beth Ramos described her brainchild project photo safari contest as “stable.” “It’s already institutionalized and continuously growing with the assistance of friends from here and abroad,” she said proudly.

Other notable activities of the festival included the Sand Sculpture, Lumba Bugsay/Langoy; SME’s Showcase/Trade Fair; Drum and Lyre Competition; Ms. Teen Maitum 2012; Bangsi Amazing Race; Aquatic Dance Contest; Bangsi Cooking Contest; Slowest Drag Race; and Disco sa Kalye/Community Night. (CTA/PIA General Santos City)

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