Issue of November 3, 2019
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Tilapia Festival sustains an industry that protects env’t
by PIA

TILAPIA FESTIVAL -- Barangay Ambuklao in Bokod, Benguet celebrated the bounty of the community during the 2019 Tilapia Festival. More than 300 kilos of tilapia were served to the public during the event which highlights the foremost produce of the barangay. -- Contributed photo

BOKOD, Benguet – More than 300 kilos of tilapia were served to the public during the 7th Tilapia Festival of Barangay Ambuklao in this town.

Barangay Captain Monroe Galasgas led the community of fisher folks in highlighting tilapia, the notable produce of the barangay which hosts the Ambuklao Hydroelectric Power Plant, the first and oldest hydro plant in the country.

Ambuklao is the major producer of fresh tilapia in the province. More than 80 tilapia fish cages are within the Ambuklao Dam reservoir.

The  festival held Oct. 25 featured  the eshel ni tilapia or the catching of tilapia, kedot ni tilapia or the grilling of the hundreds of tilapia, and the community boodle fight participated in by residents and visitors.

Other activities were the traditional and innovative cooking contests; indigenous, board and parlor games; showcase of talents such as songs and dances spearheaded by the Sangguniang Kabataan.

Councilor Arthur Solano said the Tilapia Festival was conceptualized when he was the barangay captain of Ambuklao to promote and further develop the tilapia industry of their barangay, which is supported by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Cordillera and the SN Aboitiz Power Benguet.

It started in 2013 to recognize fisher folks or the fish cagers association of Ambuklao Dam who have sustained the production of tilapia that started after the July 1990 earthquake and has grown into an industry.

Rep. Nestor Fongwan represented by Claire Prudencio commended the barangay for sustaining the Tilapia Festival, which he has been promoting since he was governor. 
He supports the upgrading and improvement of the festival.

The festival has been proposed to be moved and celebrated in line with the Ambuklao Foundation Day in March, just like the Foundation Day of Benguet which is celebrated every November through the Adivay Festival.

In a message delivered by  Executive Assistant Engr. Simon Diclas, Gov. Melchor Diclas commended the  people of  Ambuklao for aligning their festival with environment protection to ensure a sustainable tilapia industry by protecting its mountains and rivers through the  theme “Kalikasan ay ingatan at protektahan: Palaisdaan ay laging pakinabangan.”

Rose White of SN Aboitiz Power Benguet said the support they are providing to the Ambuklao is part of performing their corporate social responsibility to the host barangay of the Ambuklao power plant.

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