Nueva Vizcaya plays tourism in festivals

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The Ammungan Festival, the great annual celebration of the anniversary of the founding of this province, kicked off its week-long activities on Tuesday, May 24, with the launch of the 1st Nueva Vizcaya Travel and Tourism Expo with 15 municipal tourism booths .

The festivities, which will end on May 27, commemorate the 183rd anniversary of the founding of Nueva Vizcaya. Since 1985, May 24 has been declared by then-President Ferdinand E. Marcos as a special nonworking holiday in the province.

The program began with a Mass of Thanksgiving at the People’s State Capitol with the declaration of the Grand Ammungan Festival 2022 by Governor Carlos Padilla. It was followed by a dance by the Ari-Tau Folklore Society and the inauguration of the 1st Nueva Vizcaya Travel and Tourism Exhibition and the Vizcayano Art Exhibition.

Most activities will be conducted at the Capitol Compound in this city. Efforts include Ammungan Musikahan Concert, Ammungan Trade Fair, Vizcayano Art Exhibition, Gaya ng Dati, a public art installation on Dumlao Boulevard; and the Ammungan Fun Bike Ride on May 26 at Lower Magat Ecotourism Park in Diadi Town.

The provincial government’s tourism office said the unveiling of Solos public art exhibition by Francisgum titled “Gaya ng Dati” on Sumlao Boulevard is simultaneous with the same artist’s “Maranasan Muli” exhibition at Belonging, a collective of Filipino-American creators through visual storytelling in Los Angeles.

The tourist office also presented the best tourist sites in the province by installing kiosks by municipality presenting ecotourism destinations.

Padilla noted that Nueva Vizcaya appears as a refreshing site on the Philippine tourism map, due to its plentiful supply of oranges.

Considered the citrus capital of the Philippines, the governor said people love to visit farms – especially in the highland town of Kasibu – to pick the fresh fruit.

He said the province has become a top ecotourism destination for local and international tourists. Among its offerings are its cascading waterfalls, majestic mountains, preserved caves, crystal clear rivers and streams, historic churches and sacred sites.

Padilla said visitors love going to Imugan Falls, which cascades more than 35 feet to a beautiful catchment area and the Balete Pass National Shrine in the city of Santa Fe; the 4.5 kilometers of eight interconnected Capisaan cave systems in the city of Kasibu and Mount Ugo, which rises over 2,150 meters above sea level and the Dum-liing Falls in the city of Kayapa.

He said some visitors would prefer to climb Mount Palali which rises more than 1,715 meters above sea level and Señora Falls. Tourists also like to visit St. Dominic’s Cathedral, People’s Museum and Bayombong City Library.

Some of the tourist favorites include the Lower Magat Ecotourism Park, which covers over 1,120 hectares in the town of Diadi; the San Vicente Ferrer church built during the Spanish period in the 18th century and the Dampol bridge built in 1818 by the Spaniards in the town of Dupax del Sur; Lintungan Falls in Quezon City, Gulon Peak in Ambaguio City, Salinas Salt Spring Remnants in Bambang City, and Naruron Falls in Dupax del Norte, among others.

Located in the majestic Cordillera, Caraballo and Sierra Madre mountain ranges and some 250 kilometers north of Manila, the province of Nueva Vizcaya is one of the most colorful and culturally diverse provinces in the country.

It is home to 18 groups of indigenous peoples who have called it home for centuries, such as the Ifugaos tribes in the cities of Quezon, Bagabag and Kasibu; the Gaddangs at Solano and Bayombong; the Isinais at Dupax del Sur, Bambang and Aritao; the Kalanguyas in Santa Fe and the Bugkalots in Alfonso Castañeda and Dupax del Norte.

“Ammungan” is a Gaddang word meaning “gathering”, while its Ilocano counterpart is “ummungan”, which has the same meaning and is widely understood among several ethnolinguistic groups.

Edward K. Thompson