Bantog Celebrates Inaugural Kalabaw Food Festival to Highlight Dairy Industry Success

Bantog, Pangasinan — The small village of Bantog in Pangasinan was alive with celebrations this Friday for the inaugural Kalabaw Food Festival, which marked the local dairy industry's achievements and future aspirations.

According to Philippines News Agency, the Bantog Samahang Nayon Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BSNMPC) and the municipal government organized the festival to celebrate the significant milestones reached in local dairy production. Rolly Mateo Sr., chairman of BSNMPC, shared during the event the cooperative's journey from its humble beginnings in 2009 with just PHP10,000 in capital to its current status with assets over PHP100 million and daily milk production aiming for 500 liters.

The festival, which runs from April 19 to 21, features various activities including a "Dress Your Buffalo Contest", a carabeef cooking contest, and a parade among other community-focused events. Mayor Carlos Lopez Jr. highlighted that the success story of BSNMPC began during the recent pandemic when the cooperative managed to secure significant contracts from national agencies for their milk products, despite initial lockdown challenges.

The local government, as noted by Lopez, plans to further integrate dairy production into Bantog’s agri-tourism projects, aiming to attract tourists to their facilities to witness firsthand the production processes. The Department of Trade and Industry has supported the cooperative's growth with training and equipment, emphasizing a whole-of-government approach to rural development.

Natalia Dalaten, the DTI-Pangasinan provincial director, and other dignitaries praised the cooperative's efforts and the community's resilience in fostering a thriving dairy sector in Bantog, which they celebrated through this new annual festival.