Haw-as Festival is a cultural and seafood festival in the town of Dumangas, Iloilo every last week October. Boasting of a week-long calendar, it is a celebration of Dumangas’ vibrant local culture, rich heritage, ts seafood industry particularly the production of bangus (milkfish), thanksgiving for bountiful harvest, and heroism of Filipino patriot Colonel Quintin Salas.
History of Haw-as Festival
Haw-as Festival comes from the word haw-as that means harvest. The town of Dumangas celebrates the annual feast of its patron, St. Augustine of Hippo, every August and the the local government organized the first Pahaw-as Festival in 2002. Years later in 2008, Mayor Ronaldo Golez revamped the fest in two ways. First, a change of its name gave birth to Haw-as Festival. Second, the schedule was moved to the last week of October. It became an event that coincides with the culture and history week of Dumangas.
Bangus industry in Dumangas, Iloilo
Dumangas is a coastal town whose coastline is a little over 21 kilometers long. Additionally, it has rivers and streams that are rich in aquatic resources. Thus, a portion of its population are engaged in fishing. Of about 13,000 hectares of its total land area, a third is dedicated to fishponds especially in the culture of bangus (milkfish ). Annually, its total milkfish production is about 11,000 tons. That puts the town as one of the major producers of the seafood in Iloilo and in the country.
Bangus (English: milkfish, scientific name: chanos chanos) is one of the popular fishes available in the Philippine markets. It is also unofficially its national fish. The country produces 220,000 tons of the fish yearly, of which Iloilo produces 76,000 tons. Fish farmers in Dumangas mostly engaged in raising milkfish species that inhabit brackish water, and the fish can thrive in sea and fresh waters as well.
Other celebrations of this seafood includes the Bangus Festival in Dagupan City of Pangasinan.
Colonel Quintin Salas
Haw-as Festival also remembers the heroic deeds of Colonel Quintin Salas. Born in Dumangas on October 31, 1870, he was the seventh of eleven children of Nicolas Salas and Nicolasa Dicen and educated in Jaro Seminary and Instituto de Molo. He was the head of the municipal government when the Philippine revolution began in August 1896. He led the local arm of the revolutionary forces in Panay island in 1898 and was appointed second in command. Then he liberated the town of Jaro in December 16 of the same year.
When the Philippine-American War began, he also led the uprising against the foreign invaders until October 4, 1901. Even after some of the revolutionary leadership surrendered, he continued to wage guerilla warfare against Americans. He is considered the very last Filipino patriot in Visayas who surrendered to the Americans, and he was exiled to Manila where earned a law degree in 1912.
He later returned to Iloilo and became the municipal head of Dumangas which also included the present-day town of Barotac Nuevo. He died from tuberculosis on January 24, 1917. A monument was erected in his honor in Dumangas plaza. Additionally, a historical marker of the National Historical Institute that recorded his heroism was installed on October 31, 1972 and a village in Iloilo City (Barangay Quintin Salas) was named after him.
Haw-as Festival Activities
The week-long celebration includes important historical events such as the commemoration of the liberation of Dumangas on October 28 and the birth anniversary of Quintin Salas on October 31. In addition it has a unique format where street dancing competition kicks off the revelries, compared to other festivals that consider such event as one of the culminating activities.
An agri-fisheries expo is also one of its highlights, providing an avenue for farmers and fisher folks, along with cook-fest and other activities related with milkfish and Sikpanay-Dumangas Actual Haw-as sa Punong, an event which was launched in 2016.
Other highlights include the beauty pageant Haw-as Festival Queen, entertainment shows, Laro ng Lahi (traditional games), and the annual Haw-as Festival “Guban” competition (guban referring to dance contingents that are made up of four to six barangays).
How to reach Dumangas, Iloilo
Book a flight to Iloilo International Airport, then head to the jeepney station at Tagbak terminal in Jaro bound for Dumangas.
Haw-as Festival Summary
|Date||Last week of October|
|Organizer||Municipal Government of Dumangas|
|Previous Name||Pahaw-as Festival|
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