‘Tribu Virac’ leads 2017 Abaca Festival winners
posted 4-Jun-2017  ·  
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The contingent from the capital town, calling themselves as ‘Tribu Virac’, reigned supreme in this year’s Creative Dance Competition held at Virac Plaza Covered Courts last May 26 as the 2017 Abaca Festival came to a successful conclusion.

In its newer version of the Burak Festival, now known as Milflores Festival, Virac bested five other contingents by securing the highest score from four of the five judges. It also clinched two of the three special awards, winning Best in Moving Choreography and Best in Costume.

In the Battle of Festival Queens, 19-year old Yvonne Fe S. Besoña, 19, of Virac was unanimously hailed as the winner. A runner-up in Mutya ng Virac 2013, Besoña is presently a member of the Catandungan Cultural Troupe. Local coutourier Louie Bagadiong of Tinabas came up with the queen’s visually stunning costume.

Rham “Kamor” Aldea, a home-grown talent of Virac, choreographed Milflores Festival, which was performed by 88 Viracnon youth dancers and musicians. Prior to this latest victory, he was also the choreographer of Catanduanes contingent that clinched second runner-up spot in the 2015 Gayon Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown and Regional Streetdance Competition in Daet, Camarines Norte.

For being the grand champion, Tribu Virac contingent received the top P70,000.00 cash prize, and another P20,000.00 for the two special awards. The festival queen received P10,000.00

The contingents from Caramoran and Gigmoto placed 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up, respectively, with Caramoran, the most among the six competing teams, received P40,000.00 plus another P10,000.00 for being adjudged as Best in Music. Gigmoto’s place in the top three was worth P30,000.00.

The other participating contingents - Bagamanoc, Pandan and Viga – were given the consolation prize of P20,000.00 each. Prior to the showdown, P50,000.00 in seed money was given to each participating municipality by the provincial government.

Provincial Tourism Officer Carmel Bonifacio-Garcia said that the competition this year is grander than last year’s since there were six participating municipalities compared to 2016’s two.

“The festival showdown is a way of showing the beauty of Catandungan culture and talent and we hope that all municipalities would participate next year,” she added.

This year’s Creative Dance Competition aimed to highlight the culture, history and livelihood of participating municipalities while showcasing abaca fiber through their choreography, costumes, and props.


Meanwhile, in the twin categories of the cooking challenge conducted by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), kin of abaca farmers from Bato as well as entries of Kemji Resort and Restaurant emerged as winners in the contest held at the Plaza Rizal covered courts.

In the KAMPEON SA KUSINA for relatives of abaca farmers highlighting native cuisines of their towns, Bato’s Maricel Torzar, Rebecca Ormoc and coach Daisy Tulalian were declared champions, edging Baras (Nieves Rodulfo, Marjorene Rodulfo and coach Nimfa Padua) at second place and Viga’s Florante Tusi and coach Mary Grace De Jesus salvaging third.

The PASIRILAMAN category for restaurant and catering services was topped by Kemji’s Napoleon Granada, Jr., Orlando, Olapani II, and Richilda San Jose, which edged out Maria Corros, Ofelia Matencio, and Jocelyn Abines of Margarita’s Garden. Third place went to the Catanduanes Good Center team of Joden Tomagan, Mary Ann Magtangob, and Sheila Mae Camacho.

The champion teams got P10,000.00 each, with the 2nd and 3rd placers receiving P7,500.00 and P5,000.00, respectively. A consolation prize of P2,500.00 each was given to the other participating teams.


The Abaca Farmers’ Day at capitol grounds proved to be both a challenge and a treat for abaca strippers, some of whom joined the Abaca Stripping Relay Competition and took advantage of the free haircut, manicure, pedicure and massage service sponsored by TESDA.

In the Male category, the team of Andro Lopez, Fredirick Bulag, and Tirso Bermijo of Bato took first place, followed by second placers Marvin Taroy, Francisco Tornilla, and Sammy Taroy of Viga, and third placers Rosawro Tavera Jr., Cris Arcilla, and Romnick Vargas of Virac.

On the female side, the Viga team composed of Lucy Balidoy, Alicia Tanio, and Lydia Toledo clinched the top rank, with Bato’s Ana Tubalinal, Elsie Tapia, and Mary Joy Francisco of Bato snagging second place, and San Andres’ Leonor Masagca, Emily Canaria, and Marites Sorreda hanging on to third.

The first, second and third-ranked teams received cash prizes of P10,000.00, P7,500.00, and P2,500.00, respectively. The event was spearheaded by the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) – Catanduanes Office.


In the pageant held at Virac Town Center, 19-year old John Ian David Aquino of Bagamanoc was hailed as Mr. Bicol World after besting 12 other candidates. He also won three special awards: Best in Production Number, Mr. Lites Salon, and Mr. Villa Tolledo Inn.

Pandan’s Neil Bruce Isorena was adjudged as 1st runner-up while Justin Dale Reolo of Polangui, Albay helped himself to third. John Paul Guerrero of Baras was named Mr. Bicol World Tourism. 

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