SouthCot’s ‘Kawayan Festival’ making a comeback

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 4 Feb) – After several years of absence, South Cotabato province’s innovative Kawayan Festival will be making a comeback later this month.

Emmanuel Jumilla, assistant head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office, said Wednesday they will re-launch the festival on Feb. 20 in Koronadal City as part of the province’s celebration of the arts month.

He said the festivity, which is slated for nine days or until Feb. 28, will mainly focus on the promotion of bamboo as an emerging industry in the province.

“We have lined up various activities highlighting bamboo and its diverse products that are available in the province,” he said in a statement.

Jumilla said the activities include the Kawayan Arts and Garden Showcase, Likha and Pinta Kawayan, Laro Kawayan and a culinary arts competition “with Kawayan touch.”

He said they have prepared various prizes and incentives for winners and participants of the competitions, which will be held at the province’s Productivity and Technology (Protech) Center in Koronadal City.

The official said they will also hold techno seminars and trainings on the production and processing of bamboo products in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology.

He said the Land Bank of the Philippines will also conduct a forum on the financing of bamboo-related projects or ventures.

“Participants will have a chance to discuss with resource speakers about loans and other financial products and credit windows of the bank that cater to small and medium enterprises,” he said.

To “spice-up” the festivity, he said the Protech Center will hold a “weekend festival” on Feb. 13 to 15 that will feature a food court, bazaar and showcases on various food products, crafts, plants and ornamentals.

Jumilla, who manages the Protech Center, said the festivity will open with a motorcade and a simple program on Feb. 20.

After the opening program, he said provincial officials will inaugurate the province’s first bamboo hub in Surallah town.

Dubbed e-bamboo hub, the facility will serve as the province’s center for the production of engineered bamboo products.

The e-bamboo hub is capable of manufacturing of tiles, planks and other products that may be used for the construction of engineered bamboo products such as chairs, tables, panels and many others.

The local government started the development of the e-bamboo hub last year in partnership with the province’s newly-created Bamboo Industry Development Council and the Surallah National Agricultural School (SUNAS).

SUNAS earlier provided a building for the facility based on a memorandum of agreement it signed earlier with the local government-backed council.