042513 - The Urban Tracker (In Pangasinan) - Bangus Spectacle In Downtown Dagupan

Bangus Festival 2013, Dagupan's traditional thanksgiving festivity.

f bangus is one prime commodity Dagupenos are proud of, then it’s not a surprise that the city yearly pushes the much anticipated Bangus festival. 

With the event posters peppered around the corner, the banners, and fiesta ribbons dangling up boiled down to one direction - the local government wanted to ensure to make it bolder and more festive this 2013.

The AB Fernandez stretch is cordoned off for revelers and grilling stations.
The celebratory mood had been surging for days with the perimeters surrounding the city hall converted into stalls of eateries stalking and inviting local goers for a street eat-out ala banchetto. The site is adjacent to the malls and public market with crowd swelling by twilight until midnight.

Getting ready to mount the tents, in time before the crowd arrives.
After a public concert, booths and pitched tents sprouted along A.B. Fernandez stretching into Jollibee. Over the banners, the street became congested, bustling with big stages, the blown-up bags, and the grillers. Most of them were either sponsored by local businesses or network giants like Globe, Smart networks to make their attention-grabbing presence felt here.

AB Fernandez festooned to the delight of selfie chasers
The bangus in big letters to the teeming revelers
The jampacked street scene was caused by troopers from nearby towns coming in forces to witness the street glory in the name of bangus. The transports were already rerouted early in the morning with the barriers stalled on the main road that onlookers already secured their spot for the better view of parade happening anytime.

The ritualistic setting fire to a grill marks the official opening of the festival
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The stench from the burning flame from the grills make the crowd jumpy.
A smirk by a bangus dancer in flamboyant attire
The jam-packed crowd that included media people, foreign revelers were all waiting for the icebreaker. Up from nowhere, former President Fidel Ramos came and I got a handshake in a flash. Then the drumrolls of the marching band reverberated marking the burning of the grills that ran along the center of the street. The tattered cloths used as fuel burned nauseating the air but the audience both on the street or up above the buildings ignored it with their attention locked on the dance parade.

A big native basket carriage of bangus leads the parade.
The dance action of street dancers dazzles the crowd with uniformity of moves.
The initial dance of the bangus festival finally kicked off. The costumes were proudly worn and finely designed as well as the props that were meticulously made. The dancers performed their rehearsed choreographies in rhythm and they were following a tempo, moving by batch and doing a repetitive sway with their nets and bilao (bamboo plates) and jived to the whole breadth of the main street. That dance provided the festival the real spirit and value which in a way was the local government's magnanimous thanksgiving for the bounty it's been reaping from the bangus industry.

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The grilling has now officially started to sizzle one's bangus appetite
The dance was just a firestarter. The stage started to rock the crowd with a performance and the air roared with the booming beat of speakers. The revelers were in a scramble for a lot of freebies and giveaways with enterprising booths that came up with drinks, goodies, souvenirs made the carnival rolling. But then the traditional practice was the ritual highlight - the grilling of bangus on the streets.

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The Bangus street grilling is the highlight of Bangus Festival
The grills coded with numbers were distributed to participating groups where they unloaded marinated bangus and sold it or shared it with anyone in the crowd who wanted to have a party - a festivity that local government is encouraging in making the town thankful to what industry of bangus has come to bless the city. So I joined the roar saying, Long live the bangus!