Philippine Festivals: Bantayog Festival 2019
Fiestas are deeply rooted in the Filipino culture. Held in almost all baranggays, municipalities, and cities all throughout the archipelago, fiestas have become beautiful and vibrant celebrations of religion (in honour of a place’s patron Saint) and culture (seasonal change, harvest). In fact, the love of Filipinos for festivities is so strong, it’s believed that there is at least one fiesta being celebrated everyday somewhere in the country. And we couldn’t help but join in the fun. So two weeks ago, we decided to do a road trip down to Daet, Camarines Norte for the culmination of the month-long Bantayog Festival 2019! Let’s go!
What is the Bantayog Festival? What to Expect?
Before I talk about the fun and vibrant festivities, let me give you a brief background on what the Bantayog Festival is all about. Directly translated as “monument”, the Bantayog Festival aims to pay tribute to the lives of Filipino heroes during the Spanish time and World War II. Including the particular celebration of the life of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Trivia: Did you know that the first monument of Dr. Jose Rizal can be found in the city of Daet? It is the city’s principal marker, built just two years after he was shot in Bagumbayan. Although never set foot in Camarines Norte, the people of Daet built the monument as a sign of respect and honor for their courage and valour.
And last April, Daet celebrated its 99th founding year with a month-long Bantayog Festival 2019. .Festivities included motorcades, variety shows, water sports, and of course, colourful street parades.
Bantayog Festival 2019 Schedule
Although tempting to celebrate month-long, we only took a weekend trip to Daet just in time for the festival’s culmination activities. The 99th Founding Anniversary theme being, “Nagkakaisang CamNorteño Tungo sa Bagong Siglo”.
We may have only caught the tail-end of the festivities, but we definitely felt the joy and warmth of the locals.
Bankathon Competition (Basud, Daet)
After our breakfast on Day 1, we quickly rushed to Brgy. Mangcamagong, Basud, Daet (a 20-30 minute ride from the city) to witness the Bankathon Competition. The province of Camarines Norte has been blessed with beautiful waters all around. So one of the major industries is fishing.
Clad in colourful themes, several fishing boats (bancas) lined up across the shore ready for the boat race. The summer heat was intense that morning but that didn’t keep people to cheer on their personal bets.
And so after a short round of drawing lots, the Bankathon Competition began – two boats racing each other at a time. It was loud and crazy but a fun activity to witness nonetheless. The overall winner was awarded Php 40,000, I heard!
Angling (Rod and Line) Competition (San Jose Beach)
Next on the Bantayog Festival 2019 agenda was the Angling (Rod and Line) Competition. Armed with our cameras and hats, we walked on the quiet end of the San Jose Beach where the competition was held. And we were all quite impressed by what we saw. Local fishermen doing ‘manual’ fishing with just their rods and lines near the shore.
The first of its kind, the Angling Competition was organised by the Silyab Fish Net & Rod Organisation. And had local fishermen catch fish for 4 hours. The most catch (weight) of the day wins. Impressive!
The winners were:
Marlon Acone – 2nd Runner-up won 2,000 pesos
Johnson Laviste – 1st Runner-up won 3,000 pesos
Buboy Molave – Grand Winner won 5,000 pesos
It was also very pleasant to see how everyone were good sports and were all game to pose in front of the camera! 🙂
Volleyball Competition (Bagasbas Beach)
What to do with a long beach with fine sand? Have beach volleyball, of course! Next on our Bantayog Festival 2019 schedule was the volleyball competition in Bagasbas Beach.
I loved how the sand of Bagasbas Beach was soft and powdery (grey). While the water was warm and inviting for refreshing swims. And with strong waves plying its shores, Bagasbas Beach is dubbed as the surfing capital of Bicol. Kiteboarding has also become a rising sport in the area as well.
Trivia: Did you know that the Cory Aquino Boulevard is the longest in the Philippines? It spans an impressive 8.7 kilometres connecting the 4 towns of Mercedes, Daet, Talisay, and Vinzons.
Variety Show and Tsuper Sireyna
After dinner, we made our way to the town plaza to see the variety show featuring local talents and celebrities (Paulo Avelino, anyone?). It was highly attended by locals, brimming with delicious street eats and activities all around.
The next day, the highly-anticipated Tsuper Sireyna also took place. A male pageant for drivers to dress like beauty queens as well as the Binibining Camarines Norte.
TSUPER SIREYNA 2019 WINNERS. Ginno Quintela, 1st run up- Arsyl John Caramoan, 2nd run up-Marvin Guevarra, 3rd-Genne Florendo and 4th placer is Rommel Manarang
And last but not the least, the Street Dancing and parades. Where locals and tourists alike danced to the beat of the drums and their hearts (literally)!
Where to Eat in Daet, Camarines Norte
In between the fun and festivities, came food, food, and more food!
First stop on our culinary sneak peek is Bonita’s Food & Grill Lechon Hauz. For lunch, we were treated to a delicious selection of ‘home cooked’ meals. I had delightful plate of ginataang baka and adoring sitaw while Karla had the sweet-savory tocino.
They also served us their house specialty Sinigang na Lechon – a sweet-sour medley that’s totally crave-worthy!
To wash down all the savor, we also tried their brown rice coffee. A light yet delicious cup that was bittersweet to the palate.
For dinner, we stopped by a local favourite: Cafe Dulzinea. We loved that everything was served family style and were heaping to the brim!
I particularly enjoyed the Filipino-style sweet spaghetti and the well-seasoned crunchy roasted chicken. But the real star was their bestselling Sisig. Well-seasoned, meaty, and all around delicious. Too bad there was only one plate left for everyone to share that night.
Overall, we really enjoyed our Bantayog Festival 2019 experience. It might have been quick but definitely packed with a lot of good sights to see, food to eat, and people to meet. Up next on the blog: our daytour of Paracale and Macolabo Island.
Thank you again sir Mike of Katooga.ph for inviting us, to the LGU of Daet for your hospitality, and to Ms. Myrna Gobrin for the coordination. Till the next Bantayog Festival. Dos Mabalos, Camarines Norte!
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