IRIGA CITY (Feb 9, 2012) - President Benigno S. Aquino III has declared Saturday (Feb. 11) a special “non-working day” in this city as the Tinagba Festival, a harvest offering feast of pre-Hispanic origin, is celebrated.
Proclamation no. 319, signed by Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr., by authority of the president, aims to enable the locals to fully celebrate this tradition of thanksgiving, which also coincides with the Catholic Church's Feast of the Lady of Lourdes.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) also declared Tinagba Festival 2012 a regional tourism event that shall feature the colorful “10th Gayon Bicol,” a showdown of the 11 best festivals that are celebrated in the six provinces of Bicol.
The three-day prestigious Davis Cup, a national tennis event shall also be held in Iriga this year.
The Davis Cup that is being held only for the second time outside of Metro Manila shall be hosted by the University of Saint Anthony on Feb. 10,11, and 12 in its newly constructed forum and tennis court and shall be participated by lawn tennis players from the various parts of the country as well as players based overseas.
This year's Davis Cup event is dubbed "Philippines versus Pacific Oceania."
City Tourism officer Nona Vanesa M. Santiago told newsmen that on the traditional date of the offering rites, the traditional carabao-carts shall be dispensed with and floats depicting the “Tinagba” carrying vegetables, grains, and fruit harvests will parade the city streets instead.
Santiago said 36 clustered villages of the city, government agencies and at least two local companies shall put up their respective floats in the “Tinagba Character of Float Parade”.
In the afternoon, 11 of the best Bicol festivals in the region will be presented in a moving choreography in the streets of the city. Among those choosen by the DOT to be presented are: “Magayon” festival of Albay; “Busig-on” festival of Labo Town; Sunflower festival of Ligao City; “Cimarrones” festival of Pili Camarines Sur; “Ibalong” festival of Legazpi City; “Unod” festival of Castilla, Sorsogon City; Tig-aw festival of Tigaon, Camarines Sur; “Voyadores” festival of Naga City; “Sosogon” of Sorsogon City; “Pinyasan” festival of Daet, Camarines Norte and Lipay-Bantigue” festival of Masbate City.
Reportedly, seven Iriga hotels have been fully booked this week with reported rush of arrivals of Irigueño “balikbayan” coming from Valejo City, North California, USA.
In 2011, at the invitation of Iriga Mayor Madelaine Alfelor Gazmen, some 150 “Irigueños” now residing in the States attended the Tinagba festival.
Recently, the DOT has cited the “Tinagba” as the “Best Tourism Event in the Philippines” under the Arts and Culture category of Philippine festivals.
The festival dates back to pre-Hispanic but hibernated for decades until lawyer and Historian Jose Calleja Reyes revived it in 1978. (With reports from Sonny Sales)