April 18, 2024

This year’s edition of the Strawberry Festival of La Trinidad, Benguet will serve 10,000 strawberry cupcakes to revelers.

Mayor Romeo Salda said the cupcakes would be a variation from the usual strawberry shortcake slices that were being served in the past.

“The giant twin strawberry shortcake replica will be done again next year, but this year, we will offer a different way to enjoy the strawberry cake,” Salda said.

Last year, the municipality showcased its premier product strawberry through a giant replica of the twin strawberry shortcake featuring the two varieties of the red-colored Sweet Charlie and the white-colored Snow White variety. This was a replica of the 2004 Guinness World Record Holder giant strawberry shortcake which placed the municipality in the Guinness World Records.

The town will tap the four bakers from the valley to help them bake where it will be served on March 17 at the municipal gym. 

The big-size cupcakes, which may consist of around 500 kilos of strawberries, will be served to the public at P40 per piece.

Salda recently announced the lineup of activities of the Strawberry Festival which opens on March 4 with an ecumenical service at the municipal gym followed by the strawberry lane opening and ribbon cutting at the municipal park.

The strawberry lane will feature the fresh strawberry produce of the municipality as well as its by-products like wine, jam, and soap to reinforce this year’s theme, “La Trinidad: The Strawberry Capital of the Philippines (Sirom ni Duting)”.

Municipal Tourism Officer Valred Olsim said while there are other municipalities and provinces already producing strawberries, the town still has the largest area planted with strawberries.

Based on the Municipal Agriculture Office data of 2022, there are 1,020 farmers engaged in strawberry farming with a total land area of 39 hectares that produces 18 to 22 tons of strawberries per hectare. 

Olsim said the strawberry farms are spread out in the municipality including Barangays Ambiong, Balili, Beckel, Betag, Bahong, Wangal, Puguis, Pico, Poblacion, and Shilan.

Part of the festival lineup is the community clean-up drive and the heaviest and sweetest strawberries at the municipal park on March 8, while on March 9 will be the strawberry fun run “duting tan dukto” (strawberry and sweet potato) at  the municipal park and job fair at the municipal gym.

The concert at the park is on March 9, 11, 16 and 17 every 5 p.m. at the municipal park and public market grounds; while March 10 will be the acoustic band competition and the Mr. and Miss La Trinidad pre-pageant at the municipal gym.

Art enthusiasts will showcase their skills at the arts contest on March 12 at the municipal park, while the inter-barangay battle of the bands is set on March 22 at the gym.

The festival’s highlight activities will be on March 15 which is the civic parade from Km. 6 to the municipal grounds followed by the main program and multi-cultural celebration at the gym.

The following day, March 16, the public will witness the colorful small floats, street dancing, and the drum and lyre performances from the whole stretch of Km. 6 to the municipal gym.  

The various floats of the 16 barangays will once again be made of flowers and recycled materials while the different schools in the valley will participate in the street dancing competition.  

On March 22 will be the inter-barangay battle of the bands at the municipal gym, dongba ni kavajo (horse race) at Betag on March 23, while the Mr. and Miss La Trinidad coronation night is set on March 24 at BSU gym.

The barangay night is set on March 25 while March 26 will be the program and closing and awards night at the municipal gym.

Meanwhile, the community-led activities will be the commercial trade fair from March to April at the public market grounds by the NBH Events Organizing Services; March 4 will be the strawberry vegetable salad-making contest at the Kings College of the Philippines; March 8 to 11 is the mobile blood donation at the municipal grounds by the Cordillera Hospital of the Divine Grace; March 9 and 10 is the birding exhibit and learning session at the municipal grounds by the Pansigedan Advocacy Cooperative.  

Also set on March 4 to 9 is the Tawang Agro-Eco Tourism Festival while on March 24 will be Ambiong’s G-string marathon and on March 23 and 24 will be the rise and ride and auto show by the JCI-BLISTT. – Ofelia C. Empian