DESPITE HEAVY RAIN
HEAVY downpour rained on the opening parade of the 2015 Bangus Festival in Dagupan but it was not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd that lined up the streets to watch the much-awaited “Gilon Gilon ed Dalan” street dancing along the streets on Friday, April 17.
Leading the parade were Mayor Belen Fernandez and Councilor Alfie Fernandez, who rode atop a pickup, waving and throwing goodies to the crowd as they braved the 15-minute rain. The members of the Luzon University’s Drum and Bugle band that preceded them were equally drenched.
The street dancing parade was eventually suspended for 30 minutes but the drenched crowd stayed in their places.
Meanwhile, security remained tight and first aid responders were on their toes as the Bangus Festival 2015 made a rousing start on Friday with the holding of the Gilon Gilon Street dancing competition by 19 contingents from the city’s 31 barangays.
Mayor Belen Fernandez had directed P/ Supt. Christopher Abrahano, chief of police, to put the city police force on high alert and to mobilize police multipliers during the entire festivities that will last till May 1 to ensure all revelers are safe and secure.
Medical and paramedic personnel including ambulances are on stand by ready to respond to any emergency particularly those who may suffer from heat stroke.
As a precautionary measure, the mayor decided to move the street dancing parade at 2:30 p.m. to protect the street dancers from the heat. One sickly street dancer collapsed and died from heat stroke last year during the parade held late morning.
Ms. Fernandez again assured residents and sponsors that the city will not spend a single centavo for the event to bankroll the Bangus Festival, is a big departure from the practice of the past administration.
She said the funds will be sourced mainly from festival partner-sponsors locally and from Manila.
During the opening of the festival, the crowd was wowed by cadets of the Philippine Merchants Marine Academy (PMMA) with their silent drill at the city plaza before the competition proper of street dancing.
Prizes up for grabs in the Gilon! Gilon! Street Dancing Competition are P150,000 for the champion; P100,000 for the first runner-up; P80,000 for the second runner-up; P60,000 for the third runner-up; and P50,000 for the fourth runner-up.
Defending its title this year is Barangay Pantal after winning the plum last year and went on to win the Festivals of the North champion. Pantal finally dethroned perennial city winner Barangay Lucao in last year’s edition of the Bangus Festival.
The Festivals of the North will be on April 26 with 14 festival champions set to compete for the grand prize of P400,000.
Competing in the Festivals of the North are Balungao, Pangasinan which will present the Goat Festival; Masinloc, (Zambales), Mango Festival; Guiguinto (Bulacan), Halamanan Festival; Dingras (Ilocos Norte), Ani Festival; Naguilian (La Union), Basi Festival; Hundred Islands Festival (Alaminos City);
Cauayan (Ilocos Sur), Abel Ilocos Festival; Paoay, Ilocos Norte, Goling-goling Festival; Sto. Tomas (Pangasinan), Corn Festival; San Quintin (Abra), Abrenian Kawayan Festival; Candon (Ilocos Sur), Tobacco Festival; and host Dagupan City, Bangus Festival.
Special guest performer in the Festivals of the North is Catbalogan City, Samar which will present its winning performance in the Manarat Festival of Tribo Catbalaiagan, one of the winners in the interpretative category in the Sinulog Festival.
Another big event is the Bangusine International on April 27 at the city plaza where Dagupan bangus will be cooked in different mouth-watering dishes from 18 different countries of the world.
This will include culinary arts of Thailand, Korea, Greece, Romania, India, China, France, Britain, Italy, Singapore, Germany, Mexico, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and fusion of Asian dishes.
Considered as the main event will be the Bangusan Street Party at Jose de Venecia Expressway on April 30 where revelers are expected to broil some 17,500 pieces of bangus in 700 grills
Up to 700,000 people are expected to join the street party that will feature entertainment that will include the selection of Miss Serena (gay beauty contest), music from Parokya ni Edgar, Sponge Cola, Abra, Join the Club, Lunar Light, Hale, Kamikaze, Itchy Worms and Ka Antonio.
On May 1, the activities will shift to Tondaligan Beach with the holding of Body Fest to be graced by Lovi Poe and Rocco Nacino. (Leonardo Micua)