Zambales prepares for biggest mango festival 

IBA, Zambales — The biggest, liveliest and most exciting festival in the history of Zambales is about to happen this April, with at least 16 major events to highlight a nine-day festivity centering on the pride of the province—the world’s sweetest mango fruit.

Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane said the provincial government and various community organizations have been busy preparing for the Zambales Dinamulag Mango Festival, which is expected to be a “revenge event” after the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic in the past three years.

“We expect more visitors coming to the festival this year because we have activities that would appeal to a wide range of audience. And Zambales is more than ready for them. That’s what we have been doing for the past two months—planning and preparing for this big event,” Ebdane said on Wednesday.

The Dinamulag Festival, which gets its name from the succulent and popular carabao mango variety found in Zambales, will kick off with the 1st Gov. Jun Ebdane Cup Fun Shoot, with participants coming from all over the country for a three-day shooting competition, April 21-23 at Camp Conrado Yap in Iba.

This will bring in the first wave of visitors to the province, Ebdane said.

Then on April 24, locals and visitors alike are expected join the “Pulayo ha Dinamulag Festival” marathon, which will start at 5 a.m. with an Iba-Palauig-Iba route for various categories: 3km, 5km, 10km, 21km, and 40 km. This will be followed by the Mountain Bike Fun Ride in Iba on April 25, 7 a.m.

All the while, a series of mango-picking activities targeting visitors will start on April 24-30 at the Abille Farm in San Felipe town; April 25-May 1 at the Jess Villamin Farm in Iba; April 26-May 2 at the Angel Ignacio Farm in San Marcelino and the Ebueng Residence Farm in Candelaria; and April 28-May 5 at another farm in Bayto, Sta. Cruz.

On April 26 at 8 p.m., the first event for the 2023 Binibining Zambales Pageant will happen at the festival grounds near the provincial capitol in Iba with the presentation of candidates and Talent Night event.

The next day, the “Lumba Tamo” Road Bike Race will swing at 7 a.m. all the way from Subic in the southernmost part of the province to the northernmost Sta. Cruz, then back to Iba with competing cyclists in open pro, open elite, and open amateur categories.

April 27 would also see the opening of mango booths at the festival grounds at 7:30 a.m., and the holding of the Binibining Zambales Swimwear Competition at 8 p.m. also at the festival grounds.

Meanwhile, festivities on April 28 will kick off with a Drum and Lyre Competition at the Zambales Sports Complex at 8 a.m.; as well as the opening of the Parayawan Agri-Tourism Showcase and Trade Fair at the festival grounds; the First Philippine Mango Derby Open House at the Batungbacal Farm in Palauig; and the Luzon Mango Congress at the People’s Plaza in Botolan town.

The Parayawan showcase will feature displays by local government units of the rich agricultural resources, as well as farm tourism attractions in the province.

At 10 a.m. on April 28, the Mango Eat-All-You-Can buffet at the festival grounds will begin to give mango lovers a chance to savor the juicy sweetness of local mangoes at just P150 for 30 minutes. Various mango eating challenges will also be staged in the said venue.

The afternoon events, meanwhile, will be top-billed by the Zamba-Liwanag Float Parade & Competition, 5 p.m. at the Zambales Sports Complex; and the Zamba Tuklas Talento Finals, 8 p.m. at the festival grounds.

The Zamba-Liwanag parade, which shall feature float entries from Zambales towna, as well as national agencies, schools, business establishments and community groups, will depict the bountiful harvest of Zambales mangoes, as well as the unique attractions, and heritage and traditions in the local community.

On April 29, more action-filled events will unfold: the Gov. Jun Ebdane 4×4 Off-Road Challenge, 9 a.m. at Dirita, Iba; the Gov. Jun Ebdane Motocross Challenge, 10 a.m. at Carael, Botolan; and the much-awaited Zambayle Street Dancing Parade & Showdown, 2 p.m. at the Zambales Sports Complex.

The street-dance competition will pit various dance groups from different municipalities against each other in a showcase of creativity, rhythm and choreography and an explosion of colors and drumbeats. This will be followed by the “Yabin Concierto ha Dinamulag” musical concert at the festival grounds at 8 p.m.

The final day of the festival will feature the continuation of the Parayawan Showcase; the finals for the 4×4 off road and motocross races, 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. respectively at the previous race venues; and the 2023 Binibining Zambales Grand Coronation Night, 7 p.m. at the festival grounds.

A fireworks display at the festival grounds will cap the 2023 Zambales Dinamulag Mango Festival at 11 p.m. on April 30.