Bambanti festival is a popular festival celebrated annually during the last week of January, and undoubtedly an amazing tourist attraction.
At the core of this festival is the creation of the bambanti which have, effectively, earned the festival both its name and its popularity. These are giant scarecrows that both amaze and scare in equal measure. At the festival, booths are set up in a village-like setting, allowing visitors to enjoy the festival’s activities.
The festival started and got institutionalized around the early months of 1997. It was made to celebrate and represent over 34 municipalities in the City of Isabela that have been one of the few with rich agricultural history. It is also to remember that the Philippines, up to this date, belongs to the few countries that could greatly provide agricultural needs, both in the international and domestic trade industries.
This festival is also renowned for the marvelous and colorful display of scarecrows all across the entire festival. Even mascots use the scarecrow costume. However, it’s not just for fun or something that is used because it can be seen in crop fields. It actually has a deeper meaning into it where it symbolizes or signifies different farmer’s traits such as endurance, resoluteness and diligent spirit.
The scarecrow is usually built with materials from what crops they have produced in their municipality or region. An example would be a rice crop built scarecrow competing against another built from sugar cane crops and other materials. Not only you’d see how hardworking the farmers are, but you’d also see how creative and artistic they are when it comes to designing their scarecrow model.
The festival consists of many activities and the scarecrow competition is just one and possibly the main event of the festival. Other activities include beauty pageants, costume pageants, dance competition, cooking competition, and sometimes even sports, between all municipalities or regions.