By: Glazyl Y. Masculino
SAN CARLOS CITY – The city government here in Negros Occidental is promoting the tourism in Sipaway island through the staging of the first Seafood Festival on June 22.
Outgoing Mayor Gerardo Valmayor Jr., said it’s a way for them to showcase the best of the island featuring different kinds of seafood like shells and fishes.
Actually it’s somehow a ‘testing’ to determine if it really has an effect to the tourism in the island, he added.
Valmayor said Sipaway is known as a seafood destination in the city, with two villages – San Juan and Ermita. It has about 6,000 population.
Valmayor said two marine protected areas were established previously which makes the island more rejuvenated.
The mayor said the island has improved a lot with the installation of water supply, and 24-hour electricity.
He said they are planning to develop and improve the water waste and solid waste treatment to protect the sea.
In fact, there were lots of mangrove planted in the island for environment protection, he added.
The local government is also planning to build additional structures to accommodate visitors.
Meanwhile, according to city tourism operations officer I Jennifer Saballa, the festival highlighted various seafood dishes like the most abundant shell in the island locally known as “aninikad.”
Saballa said various fisherfolk associations prepared different kind of “aninikad” dishes such as lumpia, bicol express, and grilled seashells, among others.
It was really good because residents become innovative to showcase unique kinds of dishes, she added.
The festival actually started with a fluvial parade, followed by a Zumba, and Bugsay competition represented by five members each from the two villages.
They also held beach volleyabll, and coconut wine locally known as “tuba” drinking contest. Saballa said their main target is to boost the tourism in the island through these kind of activities.
“This is a way for us to entice tourists to visit the island which is a 10-minute boat ride from the city port. We want visitors to have a glimpse of the normal activities in the island,” she added.
Tourists and other visitors can ride a multicab or an e-bike going from the island port to their chosen beach resorts.
She said the one day festivity was successful, with the number of tourists and visitors who went to the island to witness the first seafood festival. Saballa said they are planning to call next year’s festivity as “Aninikad Festival” to highlight the most abundant shell found in the waters of Sipaway.
We are planning to invite more tourists in the coming years, she added.
On the other hand, Valmayor lauded the efforts of the tourism office for initiating such activity to promote the island of Sipaway.
“It was really good, and we are even trying to hold training for residents and fisherfolks on how to make handicrafts and delicacies, and how to improve the live catch of fishes in the waters, respectively, to help them gain economically,” the local executive said.
He said they are also planning to expand the DapDap Wharf, which is the island’s port.