In the fourth week of January this year, the province of Isabela held its major festival, the Bambanti Festival to celebrate the economic, social, political, and cultural victories it has so far achieved. But as it reveled in its victories, the Region II province earned more—a Guinness Book of World Record, no less.
Bambanti is an Ilocano word for scarecrow, the human-like figure farmers use to guard their crops from birds. Being a primarily agricultural province, Isabela considers the bambanti an important part of its history and heritage. Hence, the festival is held in thanksgiving for the previous year’s harvest.
The week-long celebration, with the theme “Tagumpay ng Pusong Isabela” (Victory of Isabela Spirit), featured entertaining programs and competitions including Giant Bambanti Showcase, Bambanti Streetdance and Showdown Competition, Search for Bambanti Festival King and Queen, Bambanti Village, and Isabela’s Master Kusinero Cooking Competition.
The Agri-Ecotourism Exhibit and Sale offered indigenous handicrafts, lifestyle merchandise, and traditional Isabela cuisine. There was also a showcase of culture and traditions of tribal communities of Gaddang, Ibanag, Ytaois, and Ilocano.
Cauayan City was awarded Best Bambanti Agri-Ecotourism Booth, followed by Naguilian and Palanan at second and third place, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Isabela’s Master Kusinero Cooking Competition, spearheaded by Mary Ann Arcega-Dy, showcased longganisa dishes of 28 towns and cities that participated. The municipality of Tumauini emerged victorious in the competition.
The highlight of the festival was the Streetdance and Showdown Competition, during which performers from 25 contingents delighted the audience with their colorful costumes and dance moves. Echague was awarded Best Dance Showdown Contingent, while Alicia bagged the first prize for Best Streetdance Contingent.
However, the biggest winner during the festival was Isabela province after it set the record for most number of persons dressed as scarecrows. A total of 2,495 participants joined to set the new Guinness World Record title.
Official Guinness World Record adjudicator Paulina Sapinska confirmed the achievement and awarded the certificate to Isabela Governor Faustino “Bojie” Dy III and Vice Governor Antonio “Tonypet” Albano.
Echague won Festival King and Festival Queen, while Cauayan City took home the Best Giant Bambanti Installation award.
Cauayan City emerged as the overall winner, followed by the municipalities of Echague and Alicia.