San Jose town was named best float in the kick-off ceremony of the first-ever Ibabao Festival in Northern Samar province. The town received a PHP300,000 cash prize and a plaque from the provincial government during the ceremony on Sunday, after besting 18 other towns in the province for replicating a ship made up of locally available materials, particularly seaweeds, sea cucumber, root crops and vegetables. Lope de Vega and Catubig towns received PHP200,000 and P100,000 for winning second and third, respectively. The floats were judged according to their relevance to the festival theme 'Proudly Ibàbaonon: Promoting tourism, preserving history, sustaining progress', innovative use of materials and resources, individuality or showcasing of their towns' identity, and overall impact. The float parade and competitions were just one of the highlights of the festival to celebrate the 58th founding anniversary of Northern Samar's provincehood. 'All activities lined up by the province this year are preparations for the 60th founding anniversary of the province in 2025,' said Northern Samar Governor Edwin Marino Ongchuan. The main highlight of the Ibabao Festival will be held on June 18 at the University of Eastern Philippines. Ongchuan said the festival aimed to showcase the province's rich culture and heritage. Northern Samar, referred to in the past as Ibábao, was known for the ancient valor and bravery of its people. With the creation of the province of Northern Samar, separate from Eastern and Western Samar, in 1965, the place was thereafter formally known under its new name until today.
Source: Philippines News Agency