Dinamulag Festival, officially known as Dinamulag Mango Festival and Zambales Mango Festival, is the cultural and fruit festival in Zambales, Philippines every April. A week-long celebration, it is the biggest festival in the province. Major activities occur in People’s Park in Iba, its capital.
History of Dinamulag Festival
Dinamulag Mango Festival comes from dinamulag, which is a word in Sambali that means carabao. It refers to the variety of the sweet fruit called carabao mango (mangifera indica L.) that is cultivated in Zambales. Organized by the Zambales Mango Producers Federation (ZAMPROFED) and provincial government in coordination with public and private institutions, the fest was conceptualized as thanksgiving celebration for the harvest of the fruit, promote Zambales mango, and boost tourism.
Dinamulag Festival was launched in 2001 based on reckoning from an article published in Philippine Star in 2004 that stated it turned four years old in that year. Its schedule is also in the summertime in April, although in 2019 it was conducted in the month of March. It was canceled in 2020 due to the public health emergency brought about by Covid-19 pandemic.
It is believed that mangoes have been cultivated in Zambales for a long time on the basis of the presence of trees that are a hundred years old. The province had over 400,000 trees and produced annual yield of over 15 million kilograms. Fruits produced by the province are popular for their large size and sweet taste. Each weighs around a little over 350 grams to about 700 grams and is marked with less fibrous content and juicy sweetness.
In 1995, the variety called Sweet Elena earned the distinction of Guinness Book of World Records being the sweetest in the world. In 2006, Department of Agriculture’s BAR Research and Development Digest considered it the sweetest too. In 2013, experts from Bureau of Plant Industry and University of the Philippines-Los Baños proclaimed that Zambales had the sweetest carabao mango.
Meanwhile in 2015, the Bureau of Agricultural Research that Super Galila of Guimaras found out to have 22.3 Brix level (sugar content level) compared to 18.98 Brix level in Sweet Elena variety. Guimaras also holds the annual Manggahan Festival. Other provinces that produce the fruit include Bulacan, the Ilocos region, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, and Zamboanga.
Dinamulag Festival Activities
Activities slated for Dinamulag Festival are scheduled for a week. There are years when it was as short as three days (in 2016) or four days (in 2004 and in 2015). On the other hand, in some years its calendar of activities can last up to two weeks such as in 2018 and 2019. Its activities include grand parades, street dance, float competition, cultural dance showdown, sports (fun run, volleyball, and larong lahi which feature indigenous games), talent shows, bikini contest, sand sculpting contest, pet shows, fireworks display, and others.
One highlight is the staging of Binibining Zambales, an annual beauty pageant, and the LGU showcase and trade fair in People’s Park where mangoes, locally made products derived from the fruit such as puree, vinegar, wine, candies, jams, etc. are on display.
How to reach Zambales
Buses are available from Manila, and the trip may take about three to four hours.
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