By Virgilio Sar. Maganes


VILLASIS- It may pale in attendance of townspeople and balikbayans (expatriates) as compared to past years’ celebration, the 15th Talong Festival as one of the nine day activities of the town’s town fiesta was a success.

 At 8:00 in the morning of January 17,  municipal officials led by Mayor Nonato S. Abrenica and the fiesta’s Executive Committee converged in front of the municipal hall  for the Talong Festival  activities  featuring the tasty “pinakbet”, a traditional Ilocano dish cooked with a twist  in a “pinakbet sa kawa” by the 21 barangays. After cooking, the villagers in each barangay partook of the “pinakbet” with gusto.

EGGPLANT DANCE. Garbed in eggplant-inspired costumes, these students take part in the street dancing competition Friday afternoon as part of this year’s Talong Festival in Villasis town.CESAR RAMIREZ

 “Pinakbet” is from the Ilocano word “pinakebbet” meaning “to shrink” the eggplant when it is being cooked together with other vegetables like tomatoes, okra (lady finger), ampalaya (bitter gourd) and green chili, and fish sauce.

 At the Public Auditorium, the Farmers Day was also held with the support of private agricultural companies. There was a selection of Mr. Farmers Day with games and raffle draws of farm implements and tools.

 The Cheer Dance competition featuring elementary schools was conducted at the grounds of the Villasis Gymnasium.

 More recipes of “talong” as a primary ingredient were featured in the “101 ways on how to cook talong” in the afternoon, which will be included in the third volume of the coffee-table book “ Talong Recipes’.

 Street dancers stomped off their feet and swayed to the rhythm of music for the street dancing. High schools in the town competed with each other on  dramatizing ” talong production” through their dances and props.

 Don Ramon E. Costales Memorial National High School romped off with the first prize of “Street Dancing”  competition.

 At 6:00 in the evening, a public concert was held at the Villasis Gymnasium featuring Sarah Geronimo, Vanjoss Bayaban of the Voice Kids, and Itchyworms Band.

 The Talong Festival was capped by fireworks display sponsored by the municipal government.

 On January 18, the Grand Parade was conducted, which was participated in by the municipal officials, barangay officials, private sectors, balikbayans and the reigning beauties.

 An exhibition of the drum and lyre corps and bands from the Virgen Milagrosa University and Urdaneta City University was held at the Villasis Gymnasium grounds after the parade.

 In the evening, the reigning beauties were crowned -Mrs. Villasis 2020 Wilda Rabang Macayan, 1st Princess Maria Fernandez-Guarin , and 2nd Princess Virginia Salazar-Sebastian.