The Sibuyasan Festival of Bongabon, Nueva Ecija
For the first time in many years, the onion farmers of Bongabon, Nueva Ecija were all smiles as they celebrate the “Sibuyasan (onion) Festival” . They have good reason to celebrate. The price of fresh red and yellow onion this year was so high and many of the onion growers benefited for from it. Some farmers were able to pay back their debt from last years crop while others became instant millionaires because of the good harvest and price.
Thanks to the effort of Secretary Processo Alcala of the Department of Agriculture, the entry of imported onion were controlled to a minimum that provided some protection for the local onion growers. Last year was a different story, though harvest last year was abundant, the rampant entry of imported onion in the market last year caused the price of onion to drop way below the break even cost of the farmers.
The “Sibuyasan Festival” or Onion Festival in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija was started by the town Mayor a few years ago to celebrate the onion harvest which are mostly harvested in the month of March to April. This year, there was a week long celebration and I had the opportunity to join the celebration last April 7, 2011.
The Sibuyasan festival is one of the many festivities around the country that celebrates the bountiful onion harvest. There are other festival similar festival around the country that celebrates good harvest such as the Talong (eggplant) Festival of Asingang, Pangasinan, Watermelon festival in Ilo Ilo, and the Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon.
This year, the Sibuyasan Festival 2011 featured such contest as “PINAKA”, a contest for the largest red and yellow onion bulbs. Some bulbs weighs as much 300 grams to half a kilo.
There was also an onion eating contest were the contestant ate 3 large onion bulbs. Most of the contestant barely finished the onion. Their eyes were all red and teary because of the sulfur compound emitted by the onion as they munch on it. The onion was so pungent that even the audience such as myself which is 10 feet away was a bit teary.
An onion sack race was also organized where the participants were made to carry a 27 kilo red net bag filled with onions and were made to run around the basketball court in the town plaza.
The band and the street dancers from the local schools also made a very lively performance.
As reqeusted by Geoffry of MNHS …. here are the other photos I took of your street dance.