IBON-EBON FESTIVAL (Candaba, Pampanga)
This is held on the first weekend of February in Candaba, to show wildlife protection in a sustainable environment. The townsfolk began celebrating the peak season of migratory birds, with the opening of the Candaba Swamp Wildlife Reserve as a new tourist destination. Candaba also happens to be a top producer of duck eggs which are usually made into balut, itlog na maalat, and a gourmet specialty called burong ebon. The festival itself features bird-watching tours and an agro-trade fair, with side activities like boat-racing, kite-flying, duck races, an itik-cooking contest, and the search for the best-dressed itik. Their float is laden with bird-like objects representing both Candaba’s environmental concern and agricultural productivity – striking the balance of people’s needs and sustainability. Kite-makers, parol-makers, and other Kapampangan artisans designed the float, which also shows a representation of their patron saint – San Nicolas de Tolentino. Festival muse – Stephanie Rae Paras.