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Catandungan Festival: A Celebration of Unity in Diversity

source: Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia |

October 24, 1995 marks the first staging of Catandungan Festival, coinciding with the celebration of the 50th foundation anniversary of Catanduanes to mark the historical date of its independence from the province of Albay

Spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Catanduanes, the celebration was conceptualized as a season for Catandunganons to look into their past with appreciation and to make them aware of their history and culture as a people.

Through the years, the festival has evolved with the bigger goal of promoting the tourism potentials of the island – showcasing its natural, historic, cultural, educational, scenic and recreational resources.

Catandungan Festival has set the ambience of fun and pageantry as a celebration of life and lights. It is a celebration that showcases the Catandungan’s rich history, arts and culture, religious, trade and industry and tourism through a variety of special events, beauty pageant, sports, exhibitions, tournaments, recreation and bringing into life the Virac Heroes Memorial Fountain as the center of the Catandungan Festival celebration.

Adding more thrill and adventure is a special event reeling with surf, sand and sun featuring the tourism icon of the province, the “Majestic” waves at Puraran Beach. Surfing competition with sidelight events like frisbee, wall climbing and the likes take centerfold at Puraran Beach amidst the backdrop of scintillating coves and rolling hills.

Capitalizing on Catanduanes’ diverse attractions from forested peaks, rugged terrains, majestic waves down to a lush underwater world, which through the years still remains to be seen and experienced, sweetly agreed by an ever developing economy and shared by tropically warm people, the Festival tells of people and places, products and traditions, encapsulating the essence of being Catandunganons.

With the local chief executives of the eleven towns starting to appreciate the real meaning of holding a festival beyond fanfare instead, considering it as a vehicle of promoting the distinct and unique features of each municipality, several festivals are now starting to thrive and bloom in the island. From the Lasa Festival of Caramoran, Dinahit of Pandan, Manok-manok of Bagamanoc, Paray of Viga, Kinis of Panganiban, Tinagcrosan of Bato, Abaca of San Miguel, Badas of Baras, Maparoy of Gigmoto down to Calo of San Andres and Sarimagyo of Virac, the Catandungan Festival serves as a kaleidoscope of all festivals in the island. It unifies the color and divergence of the various festivals flourishing in the island.

It’s about you and me; it’s about us; it’s about Catanduanes – people, places, products, traditions; its about our diversity yet we find commonality in being our islanders.

It’s about the people of Catanduanes, our characteristic as steely islanders who prevail and weather all forms of challenges, natural or otherwise, because of our unyielding spirit.

It banners the island’s soul – the unyielding spirit of a true Catandunganon – just like the storms that test our strength and perseverance.

The festival is envisioned to create a vibrant economy in the province of Catanduanes brought by the increased number in tourist arrivals translated into more revenues coming in and spreading its benefits to transport, accommodation, restaurants, resorts, souvenirs and other tourism-related industries. It is aimed to bring to the fore a global image of grandeur, magnificence and amazingly attractive wealth of wonders dotting the island province, waiting to be explored.

Indeed, if you are looking for fun, an array of colors, a different adventure and a panorama of attractions, Catandungan Festival is the festival to experience. Whichever way you travel, you’ll reach Catanduanes and surely will be welcomed by hospitable people. This generous celebration is truly an experience that you’ll want to come back for more.

Mara na kamo sa Catanduanes!


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