The Philippines is a proud country with diversified cultures and many local and foreign tourists can’t help it but amazed and patronized it.

Spirits are high as residents of Sampaloc town in Quezon Province lay the groundwork for the 4th Bulihan Festival scheduled from April 23 to 26.

Now on its fourth year, the Bulihan Festival celebrates the ingenuity and expertise of Sampalukins—that’s how residents of Sampaloc are called—in making products out of buri.

This is all thanks to Mayor Emmanuel S. Torres, who vigorously campaigned to highlight the Bulihan Festival. The town’s amiable and friendly mayor said that the festival has been ongoing for any years now, but it was only in 2010 when he finally decided to give the local craftsmanship full blast promotion.

“This is something I want to highlight in our municipality: the importance of the Bulihan Festival. Through this festival, we give jobs to our residents, and we are able to promote tourism. There’s so much fun and excitement here. I hope they will visit us soon. Discover Sampaloc now!” Torres declared.

There is a full list of exciting activities at Sampaloc beginning on April 23 with the display of native delicacies in a program dubbed “Lutuing Sampalukin.” Fourteen barangays from Sampaloc are taking part in the food show.

On April 24, the Payas Contest will be held, wherein houses along the parade route are encouraged to decorate the exteriors of their homes with colorful buri and other indigenous materials. The theme for this year’s festivity is “Blooming Sampaloc,.’ Forty-six houses are vying for cash prizes.

The first prize will get P25,000, the second P20,000, and the third P15,000. Three special awards ill receive P10,000, while 40 consolation prizes of P2,000 each will also be given out. Cultural shows and a display of products made of buri take centerstage during the festivity.

On April 25, the Paradang Bayan 2014 will take place, followed by the awarding of the Search for Natatanging Anak ng Sampaloc.

On April 26 comes the Lunesan sa Ilog Festival held on the Maapon River in Kakati, where residents will join in a boat race and hold picnics by the river.

The processing of raw materials used in making buri can be witnessed by visitors at Mahabang Tanaw in Barangay Taquico. The process involves steps such as pag-ak-ak, paglillang, boiling, drying, ayikoy, ayikid and minukmukan. Watching the process will be a learning experience for many travelers. Transforming buri into a a variety of products is a unique experience only available in Sampaloc. No other town in the Philippines can this experience be had.

Mayor Torres encouraged constituents to invite their friends from all over the country to join in the festival’s events. In promoting the fiesta, the local government has launched a homestay program where the residenst of Sampaloc “adopt” visitors for the duration of the event.

Want to experience Sampaloc, Quezon? Tour packages are available. For details, call Tina Poblete of the Sampaloc Municipal Planning and Development Office at (042) 555-83-42 and (042) 716-0011, or e-mail sampalocquezon@yahoo.com, xtiantina@gmail.com.ph, and nabracia@yahoo.com.

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