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Home Philippine Festivals First Scarecrow Festival in Manila

First Scarecrow Festival in Manila

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Region 2’s Scarecrow Festival filled the halls of the SMX Convention Center in the celebration of the 20 years of the National Trade Fair (NTF). Held last March 17-20, 2011, the National Trade Fair makes a grand comeback with the theme Festive Philippines, highlighting the different festivals of the country through its Fiesta Region Program.

Popularly known as the Cagayan Valley Region, Region 2 debut as NTF’s first ever Fiesta Region, sponsoring the first Scarecrow Festival with the theme Pappabalo or thanksgiving as a tribute to its bountiful harvest and agricultural roots.

The Scarecrow, in the pervading pop culture, is often perceived as unusual, frightening, and an object of curiosity. In reality however, the Scarecrow remains a beneficial component of the agricultural sector. Faithfully serving as the guardian of the crops, its unwavering presence witnesses the stages of growth and generous yield that sustains the livelihood for the agricultural community.

Standing tall and proud, the Scarecrow personifies the agricultural heritage of Region 2 as it continues being the farmer’s ally in producing rice and corn, the region’s main products.

The NTF 2011’s Scarecrow Festival featured different cultural presentations from the five provinces of the region. A Giant 8.5 meter Scarecrow was one of the highlights of the festival along with a Scarecrow Making Contest that aims to showcase the color and creativity of the people. The Scarecrows were clad in various colorful and elaborate costumes, with different poses and expressions that will sure bring joy and amazement to all those who will visit the fair.

Pauline Tatiana Custodio, an interior designer from Penablanca, Cagayan, was the brain behind the dual sided scarecrow that bagged the title of Grand Scarecrow Winner and a cash prize of 10,000 pesos.

Her concept, the dual sided scarecrow, represents the idea that farming is not limited to men only. Women, even in ancient times, have an important role in the field of agriculture. The female side, named Maria Minakusetsa, represents the dominant ethnic group in Cagayan (Ibanags) and Our Lady of Piat, the province's miraculous holy image.

Maria Minakusetsa's body and clothing is made of purely indigenous materials namely, banaba seeds, pakpak lawin leaves, and coconut barks and twigs. Its physique is adorned with agricultural products abundant in Cagayan such as rice grains, corn, peanut, monggo, malunggay fruit, chili, dried shrimps and tobacco. Its necklace, made of ginger and kavulaw herbal plant, is a Camaranan pendant that was considered as a status symbol in the early civilization in Lallo, Cagayan.

The male side is an Aeta or Agta who is known to be the first human who existed in Cagayan as evidenced by the bones found in the Callao Cave. Named Kuset Minakusetsa, it dons a bahag made out of rattan strips while its upper clothing is made of woven anahaw leaves which Aetas use as raincoats since the prehistoric period.

Ground charcoal was used for its flesh to depict the Aeta's natural color. The bow and arrow symbolize the first weapon for security. Both male and female scarecrows are decorated with cogon hats, protecting farmers from rain and sunlight just like the roof of early houses made of cogon.

Giant Scarecrow Maria Minakusetsa

The five provinces of the region, namely Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Viscaya and Batanes, brought their distinct mark to the trade fair.

No fiesta will be complete without food and other delightful specialties. Aptly called A Taste of Cagayan Valley, an area was devoted to the sumptuous delicacies uniquely found in the region.

As part of its advocacy, NTF also aims to spread awareness on the conglomeration of various indigenous people found in Region 2. The 16 native indigenous people and 6 dominant migrant settlers found in the region exemplify the richness of culture was reflected in the trade fair.

“Through NTF, they can capture the real picture of what Region 2 or Cagayan Valley looks like,” said Mr. Ruben Salas Bastero, Regional Director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). “This will be a good forum for investors to know and appreciate who are these people and perhaps they can be a partner in the development of the different physical resources found within their ancestral domains”, he said.

In accordance with the objectives of the Fiesta Region Program, NTF will not only promote Cagayan Valley Region’s trade and culture, but also its tourism and investment.

“NTF is a very good venue for us to promote Cagayan as an investment site and as a tourism destination. It is a must-see destination not only because of our natural resources but also because there will be a lot more in store for Cagayan.”, shares Jenifer Junio-Baquiran, OIC of the Cagayan Tourism Division.

Junio-Baquiran reports that the Lalo International Airport will open by next year under the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA). “We have a lot of investors already there and a lot of jobs were also given to our constituents. We are really looking at rapid progress in terms of economic activity”, she said.

The National Trade Fair is organized by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions in partnership with Bureau of Domestic Trade (BDT), Regional Operations and Development Group (RODG) and Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC).

 

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