ALAMINOS, Philippines — Alaminos City in western Pangasinan is hosting its month-long Hundred Islands Festival, a celebration that aims to highlight the city's agricultural prowess, particularly in oyster production, and to boost tourism. The festival includes a variety of events, with the Talaba Ihaw-Ihaw (oyster grilling) as one of its main attractions held on Saturday.

According to Philippines News Agency, the city stands as the largest producer of oysters in the Pangasinan region. The mayor expressed hopes that the city's oysters would gain popularity similar to that of Alaminos City longganisa (local pork sausage). He reported that 185 sacks of freshly harvested oysters were consumed during the grilling event, which took place along a 400-meter stretch of Barangay Poblacion.

City aquaculturist Mikhaela Tamayo revealed that Alaminos has approximately 1.5 hectares of oyster farms spread across the villages of Pangapisan, Mona, Cayucay, and Baleyadaan. Last year, the city's oyster production reached 766 metric tons, thanks to the efforts of 266 oyster farmers. Alaminos has seen success with the adoption of modified bamboo raft technology, introduced by the Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (DA-NFRDI). This technology, which was funded by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research and implemented in collaboration with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Ilocos and National Fisheries Development Center, has led to the installation of 29 modified bamboo rafts in Barangay Baleyadaan.

Tamayo highlighted the environmental and operational benefits of the bamboo raft technology, which has been praised by farmers for its safety and ease of harvesting. This method has also been credited with reducing mortality rates among oysters, facilitating faster growth, and improving meat quality.

The festival not only celebrates the city's agricultural achievements but also aims to attract more visitors to the Hundred Islands. Last year, the Hundred Islands National Park saw an increase in tourist arrivals, with 438,619 visitors, a 12 percent rise from the 389,006 visitors in 2022. While the figures have not yet reached the pre-pandemic level of 520,000 visitors in 2019, they significantly surpassed the numbers from 2020 and 2021. Tourism receipts for the city also saw an increase, rising to PHP44 million from the previous year's PHP33.3 million.

The Hundred Islands Festival features several other activities, including a lights parade, street dancing competition, the first Hundred Islands Amazing Challenge, Miss Hundred Islands 2024, an invitational hip-hop dance showdown, an agri-trade and tourism expo, and a longganisa cookfest. These events aim to showcase the city's vibrant culture and tourism potential, alongside its agricultural success.

By admin