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Zambales to host mango festival

IBA, Zambales - Zambales, known for producing some of the world’s sweetest mangoes, marks another milestone this week when it playS host to the 15th National Mango Congress, an annual convention of stakeholders in the country’s mango industry.

Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said this was the first time the mango congress would be held in Zambales, which hopes to be a major player in the regional mango trade.

The congress will be held on March 20-22 at the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University convention center here. At the same time, the 13th Zambales Mango Festival will be held until Sunday, March 24, at the Zambales Sports Complex, also in this town.

Ebdane said the congress is an important step to revitalize the local mango industry and realize its full potential.

“Mango production is undoubtedly a major industry in Zambales and, in fact, our produce is now known worldwide as one of the sweetest and most delicious. Yet we have lagged somewhat in terms of production and marketing in the previous decades,” Ebdane said.

Evelyn Grace, president of the Zambales Mango Growers Association, said that they have tried to bid twice to host the Mango Congress under the previous governors, but lack of facilities and financial support bogged them down.

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She said that this year’s congress is very significant to mango producers in the country because it will focus on various means to increase the mango farming income by stabilizing domestic prices through tourism and by synchronized production and efficient handling system.

Meanwhile, Zambales tourism officer Domitela Mora announced that prominent government officials and Philippine beauty queens will grace the National Mango Congress and the 13th Zambales Mango Festival which will kick off on Wednesday at the Zambales Sports Complex in Iba.

Mora also said that this year's mango festival will be more impressive, as organizers have levelled up the events, exhibits and entertainment program.

“Gov. Ebdane, has been all-out in his support of the festival, especially since we are hosting the national mango congress, so this event will be radically different to what we have had in the previous years,” Mora said.

She said the festival events include “Parayawan,” a dress-up-your-town-hall competition among the 13 municipalities in the province; “Pinaka-LGU Booth Showcase,” which features the best products from each town in Zambales; beauty pageants like the Binibining Zambales and the Ms. Zambales  Senior Citizen; as well as various contests in mango food preparation,  mango wine mixing and bartending, and mango carving.

There will also be competitions in street dancing, float and parade, sand sculpting, drum and lyre, and various entertainment shows featuring showbiz stars and talents like Gerald Anderson, Daniel Padilla, Bangs Garcia, Paolo Ballesteros, Luan Dy, Myrtle Sarrosa, and Gabby Concepcion.

The Zambales Mango festival is the biggest yearly festival in the province in which all of its 13 town participate.

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