LA TRINIDAD, Benguet, March 19 (PIA) -- The Strawberry Festival is among the homegrown events that the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) would like to promote to tourists.
PCOO Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag, who was the guest of honor during the Strawberry Festival main program last Friday, said the Strawberry Festival is not only about food but a part of celebration of Cordillera culture which needs to be promoted.
“I am proud I am from the Cordilleras. I am proud of all the festivals we have because we are unique. Like in the South they identify themselves with their festivals and that is very important,” stressed Banaag who hails from Paracelis, Mountain Province.
Banaag said the PCOO together with other agencies such as the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the Department of Education and the Dept. of Tourism who sit in the Sub-committee on Culture and the Arts are planning to come up with ‘festival caravans’ to promote small town festivals for tourists to appreciate.
She said they want to go around and help homegrown festivals in the country like Strawberry Festival grow.
Banaag also acknowledged the farmers who work hard under the scorching heat of the sun tilling the soil, planting and nurturing the strawberry plants to bear fruits.
The strawberry festival exists because of the farmers who sustain the strawberry farms they till every season, she emphasized.
She also suggested to the local leaders to come up with an ordinance that would preserve the strawberry farms which should be sustained for the coming generations to enjoy. Benguet State University owns majority of the strawberry farms in the valley where tourists visit and have first- hand strawberry picking experience.
The local government should also come up with programs and activities that would engage the youth and become part of the festivities, she added. Susan C. Aro (JDP/SCA-PIA-CAR, Benguet)