Dapil Festival is a cultural festival in the municipality of Bangued, the capital of the province of Abra, Philippines every February. It is an annual event showcasing culture, tradition, and agriculture of the municipality, which is known for its sugarcane industry.
Dapil Festival is derived from the panagdapil, which is a local word for the traditional way of obtaining sugarcane juice that is a raw material for the making of sugarcane-based products, and dadapilan, the traditional wooden machine that is used for extraction.
The panagdapil was a labor-intensive process that involves the aid of a farm animal and the dadapilan. The dadapilan is a contraption where sugarcane stalks are fed into and pressed to extract their juices.
This machine is made of two large wooden, barrel-shaped logs that are fixed with gear-like teeth so they can turn in opposite directions at the same time. It is put into motion by a farm animal, a carabao, that is tethered to a pole connected to the logs.
As the animal moves around in a circle, the logs revolve and in between them sugarcane stalks are pushed into, crushed, and their juices squeezed out. As the juices leak and are captured in a container, the stalk comes out in the other end as a fibrous pulp called bagasse.
In the past, the dadapilan was a common tool found in farm houses. As time passed, the wooden logs are replaced with metal machinery. Nowadays, modern technology powered by electricity or fossil fuel are used for extraction.
The festival puts the panagdapil tradition front and center as a way to celebrate town’s culture, farm workers, the town’s sugarcane industry, and the many sugarcane-derived products it can offer.
History of Dapil Festival
Dapil Festival was created by Ma. Jocelyn Valera Bernos during her term in Sangguniang Panlalawigan. It was launched by the local government of Bangued in 2008.
Dapil Festival Activities
In 2023, Dapil Festival was scheduled between February 17 and February 23. In 2024, the calendar stretches from February 3 to February 25.
The heart of the festival is the trade fair where one can sample and buy the town’s products. Among the popular ones are cascaron (a delicacy made of glutinous rice and molasses), muscavado, wine (locally known as basi), alcoholic beverages, Abrenian coffee, and indigenous textiles.
Other activities include beauty pageant (Mr. and Ms. Bangued), street dancing, contests, grand parade, talent competitions, sports, and variety shows.
How to reach Bangued, Abra
One can book a flight at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and ride a bus to Abra. Others may also start their journey at any point of Luzon on bus trips connecting from various origins.
- Christian Allister Tubadeza. Abra MSMEs showcase products at Dapil Fest Trade Fair. Philippine Information Agency. February 20, 2023. Retrieved February 13, 2024
- Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega. 24th IB participates in Dapil Festival in Bangued, Abra. Manila Bulletin. February 27, 2019. Retrieved February 13, 2024
- Dapil Festival held in Abra. Northern Philippines. March 12, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2024
- Emma Joyce Guillermo. Panagdapil: Preserving traditional sugarcane farming in Laoag City. Philippine Information Agency. October 31, 2023. Retrieved February 13, 2024