Declaring Catanduanes as the abaca capital of the Philippines is a “very timely gift” for the people in the province as it celebrates the 6th Abaca Festival this month and as the country’s tourism industry gradually recovers from the pandemic, according to the Provincial Tourism Office.

“Since we are gradually but surely restarting, (the) conservative forecast for the expected tourists: let’s just say 500 to 700 arrivals but with a long night stay, it will contribute more to the economy as this would imply more spending,” the province’s tourism officer Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia said in an interview on Sunday.  

Catanduanes account for 89.4 percent of Bicol Region production and 36.2 percent of the country’s total abaca supply as of 2020, data from the Catanduanes provincial agriculture office indicate.

Aside from abaca, the province is well-known for breathtaking tourist destinations like the Binurong Point in Baras town, Puraran beach, Carorian Wonders in Bato town, and Bote lighthouse and church.

In the town of Pandan, tourist attractions are Tuwad Tuwadan Lagoon, Hiyop Highlands, Paraiso ni Honesto and Cagnipa Rolling Hills; Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine in Calolbon town; Summit View Park in Viga town; and the coastal beaches in Virac town.

Meanwhile, the 6th Abaca Festival carrying the theme “Uswag Abaca: Dagos sa Maogmang Isla” will be held this May 24 to 28.

Garcia said highlights of the festival include the abaca hand stripping competition with MASK (modified abaca stripping knife), Arte Isla: The Abaca Edition, Abacantahan (battle of the bands), Rawit sa Abaca (spoken word poetry), Indak Abaca (dance sport), AbacaSayawan (group dance competition), and vlogging competition, among others. 

“A group of motovloggers (motorcycle) will also attend the event as part of the exciting Bicol ride wherein they will visit the different provinces of Bicol and their last destination is Catanduanes,” Garcia added. (PNA/ By Connie Calipay )