Kalamay: San Enrique’s Great and Sweet Festival

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

SAN ENRIQUE, Iloilo welcomes everyone to the 2019 Kalamay Festival from July 8 – 14, 2019. Themed “One Vision, One Tradition, One Celebration,” this year’s festival marks four years of celebrating sugar.

The entire community of San Enrique, headed by their very dynamic Municipal Mayor Rosario Mediatrix P. Fernandez, extends their heartfelt invitation to everyone to join them in this fun-filled eight-day event honoring their town’s prestigious sugar cane industry.

Kalamay Festival was created to honor the sugar cane producers and processors in recognition of the benefits of the sugar industry and how it affects San Enrique and its contributions of the sugar industry in the entire province.

Sugarcane is one important commercial crop of the province. Many farmers especially in central Iloilo grow and depend on sugarcane for their livelihood. And an equal number of agricultural laborers earn their living by working in sugarcane farms.

The sugar factory in San Enrique and nearby Passi City supports huge economic activities in the area. In addition to improving the economic condition of the farmers and agricultural laborers engaged in sugarcane farming, it also supports several others like transport operators, agro-service agencies, input dealers, petty businessmen and financial institutions.

Most of the factory workers are drawn from the surrounding areas. The sugar factories generate rural employment. Although some farmers in the area have moved away from sugarcane farming due to increased opportunities in non-farm activities and also partly due to younger generations moving out of agriculture.

Many farmers have moved to growing rice and other crops to meet the food security needs of their family.

Festival head Jose J. Patubo, PhD. Of the Municipal Culture, Arts, History and Tourism Office helms the preparations for one of the unique festivals in the province.

The sounds of live musical performances and the sweet smells of sugar cuisine cooked served up by food vendors fill up the municipal plaza. The festival typically draws to a close on a Sunday with the much-anticipated, highly energetic tribal dance-drama presentations on July 14 at 9 a.m.

Held in the town proper, the festival celebrates the cane growers, mill operators and others in the industry with daily schedule of family-friendly activities starting July 7 (Sunday) Lin-ay sang Kalamay Community immersion with the Indigenous People of Barangays Lip-ac and Dacal at 8 a.m.; July 8 (Monday) a Night of Music and Laughter at 7 p.m.; July 9 (Tuesday) Medical-Dental Mission at 8 a.m., Search for Mr. and Miss PWD 2019 at 1 p.m., Search for Modelong Ama at 5 p.m., and Sequencer Band at 8 p.m.;

July 10 (Wednesday) Lin-ay sang Kalamay Pre-Pageant at 7 p.m.; July 11 (Thursday) Laro ng Lahi at 7 a.m. and Motorshow at 6 p.m.; July 12 (Friday) Pasalamat (Thanksgiving Mass) at 6:30 a.m., Paghiliusa (Civic Parade) at 7:30 a.m., Handumanan (a Commemorative Program), Panguma (Agro-Trade Fair) at 9:30 a.m., Pag-Ulikid (Quiz Bee on Local History) at 10:30 a.m., Paindis-indis sang Kinaadman (Literary Musical Contest) featuring Binalaybay, Vocal Solo (Ilonggo Folk Song), Pamulong Pulong, Vocal Solo OPM, and Pasidungog (a Night with San Enrique’s Natatanging Pamilya) at 8 p.m.

July 13 (Saturday) Procession at 7 a.m., Thanksgiving Mass (Fiesta de San Enrique) at 8 a.m., Kulinarya (Cooking Contest Using Sugar as Primary Ingredient) with Categories A-Main Dish, B-Fruit Jam and C-Kakanin at 9 a.m., Search for Lin-ay Sang Kalamay at 8p.m.; July 14 (Sunday) Padayaw (Dance-Drama Competition) at 9 a.m., 1st Kalamay Photo Contest, Battle of Mini Sounds at 1 p.m., Kinalipay (Awarding Ceremony) at 7 p.m., Bangis ng Kalye at 8 p.m.

San Enrique in agriculturally rich central Iloilo is 54 kilometers or an hour and thirty-minute drive north central from Iloilo City via the Passi City route.

Comprised of 28 barangays, it is bounded in the north by Passi City; in the south by Dingle; the east by Banate and Barotac Viejo and; west by Duenas.

For more information, please contact Dr. Jose Patubo of the Municipal Culture, History, Arts and Tourism Office at (033) 3232300 or email at patubojojo@gmail.com.