June 20, 2024

This year’s celebration of the Strawberry Festival in La Trinidad, Benguet would be toned down as the community grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mayor Romeo Salda said there would be select activities to be conducted with limited participants while some would be streamed online.
Initial activities suggested by the Strawberry Festival executive committee are the strawberry lane, the Ibaloy thanksgiving rites called panodsoran and main program, musical activities, strawberry cake competition, community clearing activities and community-led activities.
The strawberry lane features various products specially made from strawberries of the farmers and micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs will be conducted for two weeks from March 7 to 20 at the municipal park.
Musical activities including acoustic band competition and concert at the park will be held online on March 12 to 13 and 18 to 20. The contest, which is a staple activity of the festival, would also be a selection activity for the town’s representatives to the Adivay Festival competitions later this year. 
Part of the celebration would be community cleaning activities set on March 12 to be led by the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office.
The strawberry cake competition and search for innovative strawberry products which is open to all bakers in the town is set on March 19. 
“We wanted to task our local bakers to bake a large strawberry cake for the public but then we have to observe our Covid-19 situation in the coming days, so we opted for them to show their creativity though the baking contest,” Salda said. 
The other community-led activities to be held in private areas and establishments will be announced in the coming days.  
In the past two years, the municipality has cancelled the festival but maintained the indigenous ritual and thanksgiving masses with limited participants.
Despite the limited activities, Salda said they will make use of the chosen programs to celebrate the town’s resilience and creativity in the midst of the pandemic. – Ofelia C. Empian