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Batanes celebrates Vunung festival

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan (PIA) - - The island province of Batanes celebrated its first Vunung Festival which highlighted its 240th Founding Anniversary with the theme, “Moving Forward through the Ivatan Culture of Sharing”.

The Vunung Festival featured various activities such as traditional dances, float parade, arts and crafts exhibits, and culinary showcases.

These events provided visitors with an immersive experience of the province's vibrant culture and traditions, further solidifying Batanes' position as a unique and captivating tourist destination.

Vunung Festival was conceived to feature the indigenous form of community-making which is the original goal of the Batanes Day celebration. Vunung is a food packed in 'Kabaya' leaf with turmeric rice and local menus like venez, luñis, and beef, usually distributed to the community during special occasions. 

Young Ivatans showcase their talents in the street dance competition as part of the 240th Batanes Day in Basco town on June 26, 2023. (Photo from DOT Region 2)

Kapayvunung is a thriving culture in Batanes which fits the campaign to shun the use of non-biodegradable food wrapping materials. 

In her speech, Governor Marilou H. Cayco, expressed her gratitude and acknowledged the invaluable contributions of various government agencies in realizing the vision of the provincial government, particularly the significant role played by the Department of Tourism (DOT) in bolstering the province’s tourism industry.

"Ang sektor ng turismo ang siyang pangunahin nating pinagkukuhanan ng trabaho, hanap buhay, at kita sa ating probinsiya. Ito ay malaking bahagi ng ating polisiya at stratehiya sa ating patuloy na pagbangon o economic recovery. Kaya naman, isa rin sa ating pangunahing programa ay ang patuloy na pagpapalakas ng turismo lalo na ang pagtataguyod ng sustainable tourism practices," the governor said.

The ‘Vunungs’ that are ready for distribution in a community. (Photo courtesy of Ritchie Rivera of BFAR Batanes)

Cayco shared another historic feat for the province for its inclusion in the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories.

“Ikinagagalak ko pong ipaalam na tayo ay isa nang Sustainable Tourism Observatory na direktang naka-attach sa United Nations World Tourism Organization. Tayo po ay nag-apply noong 2019 at dahil naipasa na natin ang lahat ng requirements, pormal na tayong tutulungan ng UP at UNWTO para sa monitoring ng sustainable activities na ikabubuti ng Batanes at ng ating turismo,” she added.

The governor also highlighted the DOT Region 2’s initiatives in capacitating the tourism stakeholders and workers while preserving the natural beauty and cultural heritage of the province, and ensuring sustainable tourism practices.

Meanwhile, DOT Regional Director Troy Alexander Miano, said they will continue to implement various programs and projects aimed at strengthening the tourism sector in Batanes such as the preservation and promotion of the province's historical sites, and the establishment of strategic partnerships with stakeholders to create more opportunities for local communities.

"We are honored to have been part of the 240th Founding Anniversary of the province and the remarkable Vunung Festival celebration. Batanes is a jewel in the Philippines, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to promote its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage to a wider audience," Miano added. (ALM/PIA Region 2/with reports from DOT Region 2) 

About the Author

Kate Shiene Austria

Information Officer III

Information Officer III under the Creative and Production Services Division of the Philippine Information Agency. 

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