A nine-day celebration for the Pakwan (watermelon) Festival is set from Jan. 27 to Feb. 4, eyed to boost tourism and agriculture in the municipality of Bani, Pangasinan.
In an interview on Wednesday, municipal tourism officer Romel Dulay said the festival aims to promote the different varieties of Bani’s watermelon to honor the farmers, and also to showcase the different tourist destinations in the town.
Among the activities lined up are agri-trade fair, farmer’s cookfest, pakwan carving competition, pakwan cookfest (for students and tourism establishments), street parade and dance competition, farmers’ night, fun art, pakwan mass eating and street party, among others.
Dulay said the cookfest is among the highlights of the festival as it will showcase the culinary dishes with the twist of watermelon.
“This is an opportunity for them to showcase their expertise and discover original recipes or traditional foods that could be an added attraction for Bani,” he said.
In a separate interview, municipal agriculturist Jeffrey Pamo said the town’s 200 watermelon farmers produced 2,500 metric tons of watermelon from the 120 hectares of plantation in 2023.
Farmgate price of watermelon to date starts at PHP20 to PHP25 per kilo for the round varieties, while it is around PHP35 to PHP40 per kilo for the oblong varieties.
Pamo said they will be serving 600 to 700 pieces of watermelon to be sliced and served during the Pakwan mass eating scheduled on Feb. 4.
Amid the El Niño phenomenon, he said the plantations are not affected and most of the watermelons are now at harvestable stage.
Dulay said they also hope to encourage more tourists to come to the town and celebrate the festival with them.
“Our tourism accommodation are ready to accept visitors,” he added.
Aside from watermelons, the municipality is known for pristine white sand beaches, falls and caves, among others. (PNA)