By John Noel E. Herrera
The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Buenavista in Guimaras province is hopeful that the return of its Palayag Festival will boost the town’s economy after it struggled during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a press conference on Friday, Jan 6, 2023, Buenavista Mayor Samuel T. Gumarin said that they keep on innovating to attract more tourists and for the people to earn, as the town is still trying to recover from the pandemic.
“Ang ining festival kung tani makabulig gid sa pagbangon sang amon ekonomiya kay ti almost three years nga COVID-19 pandemic, apektado gid ang tanan, ang pumuluyo, kag daw medyo waay pa gid ka-recover, so dako gid ang mabulig sang sining pagbalik sang festival,” Gumarin said.
“Ang mga turista magakadto diri, makaon sila, malagaw sa resorts, so maging madasig man ang exchange sang kwarta sa Buenavista kag masustinir man namon ini even after so damo gid ang mabenipisyuhan nga mga tao, pati mga gamay nga negosyante,” he added.
Buenavista’s Local Economic Enterprise Consultant, Elena V. Quezon, also said that to help the people and small businesses in the town, they included a trade fair and food fest during the 10-day celebration of the festival.
“For this event, we have 26 stores or participants for the agri trade fair and 14 for the food festival stalls to generate more income para sa ila and sa banwa man, and to bounce back from the effects of the pandemic and we will have an economic return for this 10-day event,” Quezon said.
Meanwhile, Gumarin assured the tourists that food being prepared for the food festival, especially pork products, are clean and safe, despite Buenavista being tagged as an African Swine Fever (ASF) “red zone” or infected area.
“What we did was we made sure nga nabantayan ang paggwa sang mga baboy sa affected area and nearby areas. Nakapang-depopulate naman and wala sang baboy nga maihaw unless may certification halin sa mga kapitan nga certified man sang aton mga veterinarian,” Gumarin added.
On Jan 6, 2023, Buenavista LGU officially opened the Palayag Festival after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic with a grand parade and float competition, agri-fair, and entertainment bands.
The term “palayag” is defined as boat sailing with the use of “layag” which means sail.
Buenavista LGU also said that Palayag Festival, which is celebrated every third Sunday of January, is different from the Paraw Regatta Festival as it depicts the rich cultural tradition of the oldest municipality of the Province of Guimaras through the presentation of songs and cultural performances.
Other events during the festival also include different sports competitions like volleyball, taekwondo, bike race, and motocross, while different band performances will also entertain the crowd at night, including the much-anticipated performance of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra on Jan 11, 2023.
The “Lin-ay sang Buenavista” will crown the festival queen who will represent the town in the province-wide Search for Manggahan Queen.
The festival will culminate on Jan 15 with a cultural presentation, a foam party, and a fireworks display at night.
Buenavista LGU added that the festival is also a celebration of the “unified efforts that all Buenavistahanons have contributed towards the progress and prosperity that they have enjoyed.”