Pistay Dayat is a cultural, environmental, and thanksgiving festival held in the province of Pangasinan every first of May. It is also known as Festival of the Sea, Sea Festival, or Seaside Festival. A province-wide and weeks-long observance, it is celebrated as summertime thanksgiving among fishing folks for the harvests from the sea that they have made for the whole year.
It is also a platform for environmental conservation, sustainable development, and responsible management of natural resources. It has a long calendar that begins April 5th, the founding date of the province, and it generally lasts after the feast day of May 1st.
History of Pistay Dayat
Pistay Dayat started in 1970. It comes from the words pista, which is derived from the Spanish fiesta that means festival, and dayat, which in Pangasinense language means sea. In the past, people from fishing communities and other towns frolic in the beachfront defined by long, inviting stretch of shorelines along Lingayen Gulf. These gatherings were among families who would like to enjoy beach activities during summertime, and they formed the basis from which the current Pistay Dayat was inspired.
The festival is an ode to the way of life and livelihood sustained by the rich natural resources found in Lingayen Gulf. The gulf itself is bordered by the provinces of La Union and Pangasinan and formed estuaries from the rivers of Aringay and Bauang (of La Union) and Agno, Dagupan, and Anglacan-Blued (of Pangasinan). Its richness of natural resources provides employment to surrounding communities and a means of income generation for thousands of families.
The festival has since been expanded by the provincial government and participated by thousands from different towns and cities with activities that appeal to many. Its focus as reflected on the events that are included in the festival have shifted considerably over the years. For instance in 2008, its calendar was filled with shows that were intended to give a tribute, entertain, and educate the richness of Pangasinan musical heritage and performing arts. Later, it has given space to sports tourism. Thus, activities were created that would draw people who were into athletics and sports.
Pistay Dayat was put on hold because of the coronavirus threat in 2020.
Pistay Dayat Schedule of Activities
Pistay Dayat boasts of weeks-long schedule of activities, some of which would start first week of April and stretch to the first few days of May. There are myriad of exhibits and contests such as in singing, talent, karaoke, dancing, boat-painting, and sand sculpting. Shows are also slotted in including concerts, music festivals, fire dance, comedy shows, acoustic performances, and zumba. Sporting events are either competition or exhibitions such as in the categories of artillery, basketball, beach flag football, beach volleyball, boxing, golf, motorbike, paragliding, triathlon, and shootfest.
Here are some of the major highlights.
Banca Parada is an annual fluvial parade along the rivers of the province. It is created to draw attention to the ecosystem in the rivers In 2017, the route was set along Limahong Channel in Agno River, the site believed to be where the historic pirate named Limahon escaped to China. It is participated by various offices of the provincial, municipal, and barangay government units, and other institutions. The parade is filled with colorful and beautifully embellished boats and other sea vessels.
Limgas na Pangasinan
Limgas na Pangasinan is a beauty pageant for female. Considered the most prestigious beauty tilt in the province of Pangasinan, it selects the best candidate from the year’s female representatives who embody pleasing personality and intelligence. Winners are picked for the following awards: Limgas na Pangasinan, Limgas na Turismo, and Limgas na Kalikasan. They become the province’s representative for tourism-related and other activities of the provincial government.
Lingayen Gulf Coastal Clean-up
Lingayen Gulf Coastal Clean-up usually occurs on the last day of the festival. It is an initiative where people are engaged to clean the coastal places particularly the area in the provincial capitol. It is consistent with one of the goals of the festival, which is to address pollution of marine and aquatic ecosystems and preserve their integrity for sustainable development and future generations.
Pakar Awards is an awards ceremony that recognize the localities within the province that are exemplars of environmental initiatives such as clean-up programs.
Pangasinan Tourism and Trade Expo
Pangasinan Tourism and Trade Expo is one of the opening activities of Pistay Dayat. It is usually unveiled on April 5th, commemorating the founding of the province in 1580, and lasts for the whole duration of the festival. It showcases arts, crafts, products, and tourism activities displayed in various booths and displays. These are made available by participating micro-, small-, and medium-enterprises (MSMEs).
Where to go
Majority of activities occur in Lingayen, the capital of the province of Pangasinan.
How to reach Pangasinan
One can travel to Pangasinan through Ninoy Aquino International Airport or Clark International Airport. Bus trips are also available from the airport to the province.
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- Pasiliao, Jerick James. Pangasinan trade expo assists MSMEs to recover from losses. Philippine News Agency. April 5, 2022. Retrieved August 13, 2022
- Virus takes luster off PH festivals. Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 24, 2020. Retrieved September 12, 2022