Batangas celebrates 430 years with “Ala Eh! Festival”

December 2, 2011 11:50 pm 

BATANGAS CITY, Dec. 2 -– Batangueños are known for their culturally regionalistic bond as affectionate Filipinos.

And their famous linguistic and conversational mark “ala eh!” spices the Batangueños flair that makes them distinctive not only in the country but also worldwide.

From December 1 to 8 in Calaca, Batangas, the province’s weeklong festivities encapsulate the dialect’s famous line into the “Ala Eh! Festival 2011” which organizers describe as “the most colorful and joyful celebration” that highlights the province’s 430th foundation anniversary.

Governor Vilma Santos Recto led the kick-off celebrations Thursday and enjoined Batangueños, Filipinos, visitors and tourists to participate in the daily activities which featured a parade around town of the “Mutya ng Batangan” beauties starting from the Calaca-Lemery boundary, a thanksgiving mass at the Calaca Municipal grounds and the festival’s opening rites.

The Batangas lady governor declared the official opening of the “Ala Eh! Festival 2011” which showcases the province’s cultural and historical legacies, world-class tourism destinations and resorts, trade and jobs fairs, skills and talents presentations, photo and painting competitions and exhibitions, dog show, cheer dance fest, shoot fest, mountain bike challenge, car show, Mini Olympics, local government night, street dancing and float parade.

The Batangas provincial government and Governor Vi’s HEARTS program spearheaded the festive celebrations mobilizing local government units with host town Calaca, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Star Tollway Corporation and the social network WOW.Batangas.

Themed “All Here, So Near”, the festival aims to promote the high profile province as a major powerhouse in cultural and political history, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure and a vital transport link in the country’s western seaboard and gateway to the MIMAROPA (Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), Visayas and Mindanao.

“Ala Eh! Festival” also gathers the province’s world-famous products. The mere mention of the “balisong” (native fan knife) is typical of the Batagueño, whose tough image gives the distinctive “barako” trait. The famous “barako” trademark has since the 1800s influenced Batangas famous coffee industry that popularized the “Kapeng Barako”. After all, the mother coffee tree was grown in Lipa City.

Batangas is home of the world’s smallest active volcano and the country’s protective landscape, Taal Volcano. Off-southwest from the Batangas mainland is the Isla Verde Passage, which is cited as the world’s center for marine biodiversity after American scientists explored in mid 2006 the Batangas seas. Here, more than half of the world’s species of coral reefs thrive and teem with rich marine resources.

As Governor Vi dished out her celebratory come-on “halina at makisaya! tara na sa Calaca!”, the event organizers expect that the “Ala Eh! Festival 2011” would enhance Batangas’ agricultural produce and industries that claim fame to be the country’s leading sources.

The Batangas towns are known to be the “Egg Basket of the Philippines” through its egg industry in San Jose and the country’s “Atis Capital” through the enormous fruit grown in Lobo. The province’s cattle industry in Padre Garcia breeds the famous “Bakang Batangas” (Batangas cow) which is known to be the country’s best species of cattle, given boost through the town’s "Bakahan Festival".

The freshwaters of Taal Lake breed the rare fish species of “tawilis” and “maliputo” that are endemic to the area. The distinctive taste and effect of the San Juan “lambanog” (coconut wine) give the wine connoisseurs a run for their money during its "Lambanog Festival".

The delicious and crispy “lechon” (roasted pig) paraded in various images during Balayan’s Lechon Festival entices the participants with the revelry and festive spirit and satiates their gastronomic experience.

From the array of Batangas native delicacies, food trippers are in for a cultural food treat during the festival with the unique “Sumang Magkayakap” of Tanauan City that depicts the Batangueños affectionate character. (PNA) DCT/LOR/SEP/utb

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