The provincial government is blocking a stretch of Fernandez Street for the Caraenan food fair, a main event of the bigger, merrier Baragatan sa Palawan planned to begin on June 10 in honor of Palawan’s 120th Civil Government Anniversary.

The organizing committee announced on Friday that the annual event honoring the establishment of the province’s civil government will take place this year until June 30, the last during the tenure of the incumbent governor of Palawan, Jose Alvarez.

Caraenan, which is a Cuyonon term that means sharing a meal, is a way of connecting communities through affordable food. Nightly performances would begin on June 10 along Fernandez Street near the Capitol Building.

“Isa sa pinaka inaabangan tuwing Baragatan ay yong ating mga food stalls. Ang ating gagawin, every night from 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., yang Fernandez Street mula sa kanto ng Biochemist hanggang sa last gate dito sa likod sa harap ng AMWSLAI para dyan tayo maglalagay ng mga tables sa gitna ng daan at doon kakain, doon magsasalo salo,” provincial government information officer Atty. Christian Jay Cojamco said.

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“Every night, iba-ibang group ang hahawak — may acoustic band, puwedeng may song and dance competition, basta meron tayong stage doon,” he added.

Vivian Musngi of the Baragatan organizing committee said the major activities for local government units (LGUs) will include among many the Saraotan sa Dalan (street dancing), grand parade with Capitol employees, float competition, Salo Salo sa Baragatan, Paantiguan, bonsai exhibit, travel and tourism fair, LGU agro-trade fair, sponsors’ night, search for Mutya ng Palawan, sports events, cultural night, and Tiktok challenge.

“Dahil ito na ang last Baragatan na pangungunahan ni Gov. Jose Chavez Alvarez, binigyan niya ng instruction ang committee na gawing mas malaki at mas masaya ang pagdiriwang,” she added.

The celebration will begin with a soft opening on June 10 that will include a holy mass and booth blessing.

On June 17, the JCA Legacy book highlighting Alvarez’s achievements during his nine years as governor will be launched, followed by his Ulat sa Bayan. In the afternoon, provincial government personnel will participate in a grand parade and street dance, which will be followed by the float and Pantiguan competitions.

On June 23, the date of the foundation day, a Misa ng Pasasalamat at Pagkakaisa will be celebrated in the morning. In the afternoon, the Saraotan sa Dalan will be held to be followed by awarding ceremonies in the evening.

The celebration will be capped by a thanks giving mass and oath-taking of newly elected government officials on June 30.

Other activities during the three-week celebration include Travel and Tourism Fair, sports competitions such as basketball, boxing, Frisbee, and table tennis, Mobile Legends competition, Henyong Palawenyo, and Tunog Palawan song writing contest.

Organizers also allayed concerns regarding COVID-19 protocols, especially with reports of expected resurgence of the deadly virus after the May 9 elections.

“Actually, that is one of the concerns that we are praying for dahil may mga pag-aaral yung mga otoridad, yung mga ahensya ng gobyerno na nakatutok doon sa pandemya sa COVID-19. In Manila, for example, pinaghahandaan na ang lahat ng doctor ng Department of Health because inaasahan na pagpasok ng Hunyo, after the election ay tataas ang kaso. Yun sana ang ipinapanalangin natin na huwag na siyang makaapekto sa lalawigan ng Palawan,” Dominic Fresnillo of the Provincial Information Office (PIO) said.

Local authorities, should the case increase in major urban centers, will put in place regulations para mapigilan yung muling pagtaas ng kaso (ng COVID) sa Palawan. Sa ngayon, everebody is apprehensive about it but idalangin natin na sana huwag nang tumaas yung kaso,” he added.

Musngi, on the other hand, said COVID-19 protocols will be strictly implemented during the festivities.

“We will ensure na ipa-follow natin yung lahat ng minimum health protocols na kakailanganin sa lahat ng activities natin,” she said.

Right now, ang required lang is vaccination card so dapat fully vaccinated yung mga participants. Pero syempre, yan ay nakabase sa kung anong alert level tayo sa June. As of now, ang minimum na kailangan is fully vaccinated ang participants,” she explained.

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