Thursday, July 3, 2008

Grenade blast fails to derail Tabuk City celebration

By Estanislao Albano, Jr.

Tabuk City, Kalinga – The grenade blast in the carnival area inside the city government compound here a day before the observance of the first founding anniversary of the city and its 7th Matagoan Festival failed to derail or even just dampen the celebration which run from June 23 to 26.

Chief of Police Alfredo Dangani declared that had the motive of the perpetrator been to sabotage the celebration, then he has failed because the celebration proceeded smoothly and the activities especially the parade on the second day were well attended.

The parade dragged for three hours because the head intersected with the hind part at the intersection of the provincial road and Quezon Street where it was arranged for the one group to stop to allow the other group to proceed alternately. This is the first time that this happened in a parade in the city center.

Police and ushers had to shove people at the entrance of the Tabuk People’s Gymnasium to make a way for Tourism Regional Director Purificacion Molintas who was the guest speaker on the third day.

In her speech, Molintas made no direct reference to the grenade incident but merely said that one of the basic expectations of tourists from a place they visit is assurance of their security and safety.

She urged the city to protect its tourists not only because satisfied tourists came back again and again but because the Department of Tourism, with the aid of the law enforcement arms of the government, is monitoring crimes against tourists and by tourists.

In an interview after the program, Molintas who attended the celebration starting on the night of the first day to the afternoon of the third day said that news of the grenade explosion never gave her second thoughts about her scheduled trip to the city.

She said that bombings and kidnappings happen everywhere adding that she always makes it a point to attend ‘first time celebrations regardless of obstacles.’

Molintas also intimated that she liked what she saw during the celebration although there were minor adjustments which need to be made apart from the need to develop the city’s ‘must sees’ and ‘must buys.’

Molintas said that the city should be able to offer something that is truly from the city or is symbolic of what the city is such as a brand of Kalinga coffee or goodies and arts and crafts.

Regarding the Longest Hybrid Rice Linudag Show which was staged for the first time this year and was supposed to be one of the main attractions of the celebration, Molintas said that the city can improve on it in the future ‘especially if they gun for the Guinness Record.’

The linudag – rice wrapped in lao leaves and cooked in bamboo cuts over slow fire – were prepared and cooked at the agriculturist office inside the city compound starting in the afternoon of June 22 and then suspended on a wire laid out along the provincial road from barangay Magsaysay to barangay Appas for an approximate length of 2.5 kilometers night of June 23.

At around 9 AM of June 24, the linudag was gathered and distributed to the public in the city compound.

The target was to link Bulanao and Dagupan Centro which are seven kilometers apart with linudags but according to City Agriculturist Gilbert Cawis who headed the committee in-charge of the event, there were a lot of things they failed to consider when they set the target such as the length of time it takes to prepare and cook a linudag which is one and half hours and likewise the availability of enough people to produce enough linudags for the distance.

‘This is a learning experience. We will do better next year. We could assign all 42 barangays of the city to cook linudags so that we could produce enough for seven kilometers on time,’ Cawis said.

The linudag received mixed reviews from those who were able to taste it. There were some who praised it and wished they got more but there were also those who said that the linudag they got were either too hard for human consumption or were spoiled.

A mediaman from Baguio City was also noted the absence of community participation in the activity saying that the linudag were not opened and tasted on the road nor was the public invited to view the preparation activities such as being done in similar activities in other places.

Other major events of the festival especially the search for Mutya ng Tabuk and Mr. Matagoan on the first night and the street dancing on the third day were resounding successes.**

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