Something BIG happened in my hometown:
I never thought in my entire life that my hometown and its local university would ever get a crack in the world record books but amazingly it did! My hometown just recently hosted the 1st International Freshwater Prawn Congress & Festival which was held at the Southern Leyte State University – Bontoc Campus (which specializes in fisheries and aquatic research) last January 10-11, 2013 which is one of the highlights of the annual celebration of the Bontoc town’s Fiesta celebration every 15th of January. The main goal of the congress is to promote the budding Ulang (prawn) industry as an alternative source of income for townsfolk, and perhaps in God’s time become its main agricultural product. The event was attended by the University’s top officials, staffs, students, alumni (like me), political figures from National to local offices and some international dignitaries from Vietnam, Africa and Norway.
One of the festival major highlight is the record-tempting prawn rodeo where in a whooping 10,000 stewed prawns weighing more than 400 kilos were prepared and shared by the exciting (already hungry) general public. It was a really long and big table filled with giant shrimps and for a moment I have to forget about the tempura dish. This is the traditional stew dish. There was a strong rain earlier that day that forces the organizer to cancel the parade and postpone the program for at least an hour, so you can only imagine how hungry the people in attendance were. When the budol fight began it was an absolute all out war between men and those helpless dishes. We ate with bare hands along with other people from all walks of life which symbolizes unity of the community, but perhaps we were just too hungry we wont mind anyway.
Here’s some photos of the feast:
The Ulang Festival is relatively an alien festivity to the town’s people. Even I didn’t really know what an ‘ulang‘ is, not that we haven’t seen one, it’s just we have a local term for it: ‘Owang‘. Ulang is the Tagalog word, Owang is the vernacular and it took a massive festival to know the terminologies by heart.
Why cant we just name it based on our native tongue!? Now I know, so let’s proceed to the action:
I can’t be sure but I don’t think the World Record was official since there wasn’t a representative from the Guinness World Book of Records, due to monetary reason. But the success of these year’s festival despite the strong rains speaks highly that this wont be the last international congress and world record attempts. That leaves to be prepared and reckoned with in the near future. For now let me share a warm and heartfelt congratulations to the Organizers especially the SLSU-Bontoc for a tremendous job well done!
After the budol fight there was an Ulang mardigras featuring four participating contingents from the four SLSU campuses. It is important to remember that the Bontoc town has been celebrating the Karatong Festival since 2007 as its main Fiesta attraction. However the Dulag town of Leyte also holds the same festival and has always been critically crying afoul for sharing the same festival. So it’s a good riddance that we finally have our own Festival to boot with, and definitely on a grander scale.
Mabuhay ang Bontoc!
Special thanks to Sir Thello Hopista for the pictures.