Monday, February 2, 2015
“Banatu Festival” ushers Cabanatuan’s 65th founding anniversary
CABANATUAN CITY – Three festivals, including the “Banatu Festival,” have been launched by the city government as local officials, led by Mayor Julius Cesar “Jay” Vergara and Vice Mayor Marius “Jolly” Garcia usher its 65th founding anniversary today.
The week-long festivities kicked off last January 30 with a Mass at the St. Nicholas de Tolentine after which Vergara led a boodle fight at the historic Plaza Lucero.
He later led the launch of the “Banatu Festival,” the longganisa cook-off challenge, Palaro sa Parke, Banatu Latin Dance Festival, Sayaw Cabanatuan and Teachers’ Night.
Aside from the Banatu Festival, other festivals were the Tricycle Festival, Kite Festival.
Last January 31, was marked by a carabao race, kasalang bayan, dog show, Battle of the Beauty Queens (Miss Gay Cabanatuan), barangay night, Tricycle Festival, songfest, bazaar, jobs fair.
On February 1, the festivities were marked by a fun run, adventure fun race, Kites Festival, Bb. Cabanatuan Grand Coronation Night, the off-road 4x4 challenge while on February 2, the grand finals of the zarzuela was held.
Today, February 3, the Grand Parade will usher in the drum and lyre, street dance and float competitions while a golf tournament will be held at Lakewood to be capped by the Gawad Parangal at the Plaza Leticia Gardens and the Grand Celebration night at Plaza Lucero.
In his message, Vergara stressed that the “Banatu Festival” marked a significant milestone in the city’s rich history. He said the word banatu refers to a type of vine which grows in the riverside. It is used as bind for “baklad” (fish trap) and other instruments to catch fish.
Vergara said banatu bespeaks of the city, its leaders and its people, explaining that their collective concern and love for Cabanatuan serves as a strong bind in facing the challenges to its march to progress and development.
“More importantly, this bind gives us the confidence that you are my partners in our resolve to continue the progress and change of Cabanatuan in the years to come,” he said.
This city, a former barrio of Gapan City, was converted into a pueblo or municipality in 1777 and finally into a chartered city on February 3, 1950 by virtue of Republic Act 526.
Before the Vergara administration took over, the city’s history was marred by a long trail of political violence, starting with the burning of the old city hall in 1980. It was portrayed as a “wild, wild West” due to the alleged presence of warlords and private armies.
In 1989, its then vice mayor was killed in an ambush by armed men suspected to belong to his political rival. In 1995, its outgoing mayor was murdered in an ambush in a nearby town.
These turn of events apparently scared investors who looked for investments somewhere else.
But Vergara said that now, the city has shed its once unsavory image and became one of the nation’s top performing and competitive component cities.
As a sign of growing investor confidence, shopping giant SM Corp. is soon opening its mall in the city in 2015, which is expected to generate no less than 1,000 jobs.
According to the city’s business and licensing office, 726 new businesses mushroomed in the city in the first 10 months of 2014, bringing to a whopping 4,105 the total number of registered business establishments, with combined capital investments of P600 million.
To top it off, its income is nearing the P1 billion mark. (Manny Galvez)
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