Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), in partnership with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) hosted this year’s Sardines Festival—a celebration of the bounty of marine resources in the city.
The two-day festival was held on October 9 to 10 at WMSU with the theme “Sardinas: El mas barato y rico protina comida para di Juan.”
The project is an offshoot of the United Nations Development Programme-Global Environment Facility (UNDP-GEF)’s Sulu-Celebes Sea Sustainable Fisheries Management project that formulated the Integrated Coastal and Fisheries Resource Management (ICFRM) Plan for the city which is now in the process of implementation.
WMSU was tapped to host the event since part of the team of the project proponents are faculty members of the university who studied on the Socio-Economic Status of Zamboanga City Fisherfolks.
Coincidentally, the festivity is also in line with PCAARRD’s “FieSTA” (Farm-Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda). FieSTA is a national program of PCAARRD that aims to create an intensive and extensive interaction and cooperation among various industry-players, making them tools of innovation and part of the economic development.
Among the regional crops and agricultural products festivals that were already featured in PCAARRD’s FieSTA are Ilocos’ Dragon Fruit Fiesta, Guimaras’ Manggahan Festival, Leyte’s Jackfruit Fiesta, Cordillera’s Coffee Fiesta, Isabela’s Rambakan sa Labak (Fiesta in the Valley) where banana, goat and peanut-based enterprises were featured.
Since Zamboanga City is popularly dubbed in the country as the Sardines Capital, the city boasts of the abundance of its aquatic resources, most especially sardines, being the source of income of most of the fisherfolks in the city.
Interschool competitions were held during the two-day event where High School and Elementary students from selected schools in the city exhibited their wits, skills and talent as they competed on the following contests: poster making, slogan making, school creative presentation, quiz bee and the highly anticipated sardine culinary contest.
A photo exhibit was also set up at the WMSU Gym on the first day of the fiesta, showing off various sardine-themed photographs shot by high school students. The highlight of the second day was the staging of a fictional puppet show that tells a story of a young sardine coping with the changes in the environment entitled “Lana Sardinas,” which is part of the Sulu-Celebes Sea Sustainable Fisheries Management project.
(Mandy Dalugdug – Public Affairs Office, WMSU)