By Danilo P. Padua, PhD
Like it or not, Adivay is now soaring, albeit not that high yet, like the proverbial eagle. The location where most of the activities are done is quite almost next to the ideal.
Activities are better managed this time, compared to the previous ones. Visitors are coming in droves-but mostly local, meaning from the Benguet-Baguio area.
Activities are diverse, catering to the varied tastes of visitors. There are at least 10 sports highlighted, there is the beauty pageant which is loved by Filipinos not only in Benguet but throughout the archipelago, skills competitions, there are the fairs, there is something on health, there is the mining and environment forum, there are musical activities, there is the usual show of esteem for horses, employment possibilities, and more.
Senior citizens are treated not as weak or almost useless people, but as still very useful and integral part of a vibrant community. Even children were supposed to be given a day under the sun, in a so-called children’s congress.
Of course the major spots for the festivities are the cultural dance performances, the grand canao, and the supposed focus on farming and tourism, and the parade.
Very good preparations for the various events are evident. For this we have to congratulate the efforts of the Provincial LGU and the various municipal LGUS, not to mention the possible assistance of different regional and national government agencies operating in the province or CAR.
But if I were to rate the overall impact of the 2023 Adivay, from 1-10 with ten being the highest, I will give it only a 7 despite the above observations.
Why? Adivay was still dealing with what is usual laced of course with good improvements here and there. Those improvements are commendable by any yardstick.
Here are some of the things why the above rate is given.
First, the events are spread so long, it “interfered” with the activities of many of the municipal LGUs such as the celebration of their own foundation days. O f the 13 municipalities, only Tuba and Kabayan have scheduled their foundation festivities outside of the Adivay calendar. Good for them. The suggestion is for the other towns to follow the lead of the two mentioned LGUs. Or, Adivay should be held within a shorter duration, maybe in just 15 days. Only the most important ones are to be held in that period. Others could be done as preliminary activities of the actual celebration, or a spill over after the two-week period.
I have witnessed several festivals abroad especially in Europe, not one went up to 1-month.
Second, there are redundancies in the activities of some of the events. For example, separate cultural presentations were done for the Senior Citizen’s Day and the Farmers’ day. They could actually have their own separate days outside of the main Adivay period.
Third, the first time I saw the event, Childrens’ Congress, I asked around if there will be children who will be speakers. The feedback was negative. So, I thought the activity could be Congress on Children’s Rights and protection. This is an excellent activity but it could be scheduled another day.
Fourth, in the agri-tourism fair, the tourism aspect was not given the attention that it deserves unlike in previous editions. I had expected to see highlighted new tourism facilities and tourism programs from each municipality’s booth. Nada. I heard some visitors clearly stating the same expectations.
Fifth, prospective commercial buyers/traders and investors should be invited to the trade fair for possible closing of business deals. This could be good for profit and for job creation. As it is, the trade fair is mainly geared for individual buyers for home or office use. There are also excellent products in the agri-fair worthy of considerations by invited investors.
Sixth, skills competitions should be better promoted to students, young entrepreneurs, and even out of school youths. It has the potential as a vehicle for enhancing or elevating the image of the skills chosen for the competition thus, attracting youths to them.
Seventh, I think Adivay should now go beyond its borders. With its improvements, I firmly believe that it is about time to invite one or two selected province/s (other towns) to join an appropriate fair. This would greatly promote Adivay itself, to the outside world.
Eighth, Adivay should also highlight new and modern developments to improve business, encourage creativity, and entice entrepreneurial desire especially among the younger generation.
Ninth, I know of some people who were not able to get their meals during the Grand Canao for some reason or another. More people are now attracted to Adivay. This has to be considered.
Tenth, Plans should now be considered for increased parking spaces for the next editions. Also consider how to manage foot traffic after 4 pm.
The above are just some random thoughts and observations. Maybe, they could be of help in the future. Adivay, partly because of its name alone, could be our next big festival in the entire Cordillera region catching the attention of the nation-and the world.