Bangus Festival is an annual festivity in Dagupan City, Pangasinan that kicks off every month of April. It celebrates the province’s Bonuan bangus, which is renowned for its unique taste.
Bangus Festival, first celebrated in 2002, was the brainchild of former mayor Benjamin S. Lim, who wished to emphasize the local bangus industry and promote Dagupan as the Bangus Capital of the World. Initially a part of the thanksgiving festival Pista’y Dayat, Bangus Festival developed into a two-week socio-economic program of activities that highlights the city’s top produce.
The festival commences with the lighting of 1,000 barbecue grills lined up to cook thousands of bangus, which stretches up to two kilometers. This also serves as a competition for hundreds of cooks, whose dishes are not only judged by the grilling but through whipping up the tastiest and most creative way of serving bangus. The contest was eventually called “’101 Ways to Cook Bangus” and won for the city a recognition in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest barbecue in 2003.
Aside from the grilling challenge, the festivity showcases a bangus eating contest, a search for the biggest and heaviest bangus, the Gilon-gilon dancing festival, the Pigar-pigar festival, the Halo-halo festival, and the Bangusan street party, where several local and Manila-based bands perform along Jose R. De Venecia Expressway Extension
In 2010, a new activity called “Yaman ng Norte Diad Bangus Festival” will be introduced to the festival. It aims to provide an avenue for towns and cities in
North Luzon to promote their products, delicacies, culture, and events. Each participating town or city will have a trade booth where visitors can avail of their products.
This year’s festival starts on 16 April and ends on 1 May, days before the May 2010 national elections. Dagupan Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez said that no candidate will be allowed to join the parade or ride floats.
About Bangus Festival
“Yesterday is but an aim unchangeable and gone. Tomorrow is a vision and still not even born. But today is ours to live, its treasures how to use.” – Ernie Martinez, CIO, The Bangus Festival
The story of the Bangus Festival over the last four years, documents significant events of the transcendence, its transformation and its emergence to eminence of Dagupan City.
In the beginning it was just an idea, an after thought from a visionary whose business instinct and foresight saw in the annual celebration and thanksgiving festival of the Pista’y Dayat, a social and economic potentials worthy of being a world attraction.
For many years past, tourists and visitors from all over have been drawn to Bonuan during the celebration of Pista’y Dayat because of our fine beaches particularly in Tondaligan Park.
Mayor Benjamin S. Lim, who continuously explores possibilities, saw a way to use Pista’y Dayat celebration not just a time for revelry but as a vehicle to focus on the local bangus industry and to promote the city as the Bangus Capital of the World.
Indeed, here was an opportunity that leaders in the past overlooked. It was an idea whose time has come.
What started off as a simple celebration and thanksgiving festival of the Pista’y Dayat has evolved into a nine-day socio-economic program of activities that turned out as one of the marketing wonders of the Lim administration.
Buoyed by the optimism of his naturally ebullient spirit, Mayor Benjie gathered together a group of his aides and formulated a blueprint of action — a master plan to develop its full potential the bangus industry of the city.
Of course, this requires a lot of help and he was fortunate that all the help he needs was offered to the city. With the support and cooperation of the city residents, the civic and religious groups, barangay council, educational units and most remarkably, the participation of the businessmen and the professional groups, and his trusted lieutenants, the city mayor launched the first Bangus Festival in year 2002.
From there, the Bangus Festival worked its way from year one to attain the outstanding level of distinction and owner to blossom into what it is today.
That coveted Guinness World Record for the Longest Barbecue established during the “Kalutan ed Dagupan” in the second annual Bangus Festival last May 2003 has given inspiration to Dagupeños and visitors knowing that one of our main activities is worthy of being a world record.
The Bangus Festival as envisioned by Mayor Lim has more than achieved its goals and objectives. Today, it’s an institution with global resonance.
In the process, this has given the Dagupan City a more conspicuous place in the world’s tourism map and enhances Dagupan’s allure to local and international tourists and investors.
Bangus Festival will remain as a tribute to the courage and vision of Mayor Benjie S. Lim that will be preserved as a part of our history for these generations and beyond.
For Bangus Festival’s Schedule of Activities click here.