Saniata Dragon Fruit Festival is the fruit festival held in Ilocos Norte, Philippines in the month of July. The province of Ilocos Norte is touted as the dragon fruit capital of the Philippines and saniata country.
History of Saniata Dragon Fruit Festival
Saniata Festival was first conducted in July 2011 and organized by the provincial government, Department of Science and Technology’s PCAARRD (the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development), Department of Education, and Kailukuan Saniata Cooperative. Activities were held in the Teatro Ilocandia of Mariano Marco State University.
Its name is derived from saniata, the local name of dragon fruit (Stenocereus undatus). Also called pitaya and pitahaya, this cactus is native to Mexico and introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards sometime in the 16th century.
The fest was meant to encourage the farming of the fruit as a cash crop, boost its consumption, and promote the province as its major producer.
Harvest season peaks from July to September, but the growers found a way to induce the plant to flower and bear fruit in off-season with the use of technology, a process by which they can improve their annual yield.
In between the period of winter solstice and there is less daylight, the cacti do not bloom. So illumination is provided so they can start bearing fruits even when there is insufficient sunlight.
The fruit is reported to provide therapeutic benefits and, especially the red variety, to be rich in anti-oxidants. Moreover, it is considered the vine of life because each of its parts can be utilized.
The dragon fruit industry in the province began in 2000. The plant was cultivated in about a hundred hectares of fertile land. In 2013, it is reported that it had over 600 growers.
The first farm cultivating the plant in the province is the REFMAD (Rare Eagles Forest Marine and Agricultural Developoment) Farms that began in 2005 and is owned by Edita A. Dacuycoy.
Farms are also found in other parts of the country such as in General Santos City, Cebu, Guimaras, and Cavite. In fact, the province of Guimaras also held its first Dragon Fruit Fest in time for the National Tourism Week in September in 2022.
Saniata Dragon Fruit Festival Activities
Saniata Dragon Fruit Festival activities include forum, press conference, contest, and recognition of individuals and organizations that made an impact to the industry. There is as well a cook fest that demonstrates the many culinary possibilities of the fruit and that it can be made into various food items such as ice cream, cookies, and jam. One other highlight is the exhibit that showcases products derived from dragon fruit.
How to reach Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte is accessible via bus as well as through air in Laoag International Airport.
- Jocelyn E. Eusebio, Ma. Cecilia S. Alaban. Current status of dragon fruit and its prospects in the Philippines. Dragon Fruit Network. April 24, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2022
- First dragon fruit festival held. Department of Science and Technology. Retrieved through Wayback Machine from original post on December 16, 2022
- Dragon fruit industry revival set. Mariano Marcos State University. December 1, 2020. Retrieved December 16, 2022
- BP: Iba’t ibang produktong gawa sa dragon fruit, ibinida sa Saniata Festival. GMA News. July 13, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2022
- Rudy A. Fernandez. Ilocos Norte set to become ‘s ‘dragon fruit capital’. The Philippine Star. August 22, 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2022
- Leilanie Adriano. Dragon fruit takes over Ilocos Norte. Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 11, 2013. Retrieved December 16, 2022
- REFMAD-V Enterprise’s Vine of Life: Quo Vadis? United States Agency International Development. Retrieved December 16, 2022