The provincial government kicked off its traditional “Baragatan sa Palawan” on Friday to mark the province’s 105th anniversary, holding a colorful mid-day float parade and featuring an array of activities watched by thousands who crammed the Capitol grounds and the city’s main streets till late night.
The week-long celebrations, according to capitol chief of staff Sammy Magbanua, aim to showcase the diversity of Palawan’s culture through performances and displays.
“Napakalaking event nitong Baragatan, maraming activities. We also aim to empower indigenous peoples by means of tribal olympics. May music din at Mutya ng Palawan as the highlight,” he added.
Magbanua said they prepared for a grand celebration this year, partly to compensate for the government decision not to hold the Baragatan last year. He said the provincial government has allocated at least P5 million for the event, in addition to private sector support and sponsorships.
“Noong nakaraan, since eleksyon at lima lang na municipalities ang magjojoin, napagdesisyunan nang lahat pati ng Gobernador na ‘wag na lang nga mag-Baragatan pero ‘di namin pinagsisihan ‘yun kasi naintindihan namin ang sitwasyon,” Magbanua said.
Seventeen of the province’s 23 municipalities participated in the main opening activity, a float parade that showcased each of the town’s cultural icons and products.
Rizal topped the float competition, bagging the P100,000 cash award. San Vicente placed second, followed by Taytay, with cash prizes of P75,000 and P50,000 respectively.
A dance competition dubbed “Paantiguan” followed the main event where Magsaysay bested nine other municipalities to win the P50,000 prize. Culion bagged 2nd place while Cagancillo landed 3rd, receiving cash prizes of P40,000 and P30,000 respectively.
Magsaysay got a special award for Best Choreography while Culion got the judges’ nod for Best Costume in the same dance event.
Magbanua said the celebration, to end on June 23, will be capped by the selection and coronation of this year’s Mutya ng Palawan.
This year’s Baragatan theme is “Sa likas-kayang turismo, Palaweño ay aasenso”.