Zambales mangoes take center stage in annual fest

- Pia Lee-Brago -
IBA, Zambales — Zambaleños and tourists were treated to fun-filled events during the four-day celebration in this capital town of its annual festival showcasing the best variety of its most famous produce — mango.

The provincial government, led by Gov. Vic Magsaysay, pooled together non-government groups and government agencies for the Dinamulag 2004 Mango Festival staged last April 13 to 16.

The four-year-old festival opened with a grand parade and street dancing. To promote the Zambales mango, there were a trade fair, a mango-eating contest, search for the mango pinaka (best), mango picking in orchards and a presentation of mango recipes.

Dinamulag refers to the carabao or kinalabaw mango variety which is more popular in Zambales, it being the more succulent, fiber-free and the sweetest. It has been grown in the province since the early days as evidenced by the century-old mango trees found all over.

Unlike other varieties in other parts of the world, the dinamulag mangoes are the best since they are grown in Zambales soil that is best for mango-growing.

In 1995, Zambales became famous worldwide because it was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records as the producer of the sweetest mangoes in the world, found in San Salvador Island in the town of Masinloc.

The Dinamulag 2004 Festival was created to accommodate and promote the biggest of mango harvests coming from the different towns of Zambales and to show the provincial government’s support for small mango farmers who confront everyday needs and farming hardships and struggle to attain and live decent lives.

Zambales mangoes are known to be the most delicious in the country, wich explains why they are exported and people from other places crave for them.

Magsaysay disclosed that the provincial government, through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, has allocated some P1 million for the Mango Industry Development Program and a substantial budget for the Dinamulag Festival.

Magsaysay said Zambales is gifted for mango production. The province’s development quotient is the availability of lands waiting to be turned productive through the expansion of mango plantations.

"I hope the creation of the Zambales Mango Development Development Council to formulate the province’s Mango Industry Development Plan will help fast-track the growth and development of this industry and this province, and address the issues and problems besetting our mango industry," he said.

He added that the mandate of President Arroyo creating a mango research center at the Ramon Magsaysay Technological University will also fast-track the technological advancement of the local mango industry.

Magsaysay said the yearly Mango Festival is a priority of the provincial government since selling their most famous produce has become an industry.

"But one thing is sure, fruit-bearing trees in Zambales can send your two kids to college in Manila," he said.

Marketing of fruits, according to Magsaysay, is not a problem for the growers since buyers come to the province, knowing the quality of the local produce.

Ma. Kathrina Salumbides, head of the provincial tourism office, said they enhanced the promotion of this year’s Mango Festival and came out with new designs for its logo and mascot.

"We are eyeing a great number of tourists visiting our country every year. The Dinamulag Festival is being developed to attract local and foreign tourists the way Baguio City’s Flower Festival fascinate them," Salumbides said.

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