DAGUPAN CITY – The biggest and happiest fish fest has officially begun!

Dagupeños and visitors alike flocked the city’s main thoroughfares on April 12 to witness the official opening of the 2019 Bangus Festival, as well as to watch the performances of the six clustered contingents competing in the ‘Gilon Gilon Ed Baley’ Street Dancing competition.

The grand parade was led by Mayor Belen T. Fernandez, Bangus Festival 2019 Executive Chairman Alvin Coquia, Vice Chairman Councilor Marvin Fabia and other members of the city and barangay councils.

Adding excitement to the parade was the participation of GMA-7 artists Rocco Nacino, Clint Bondad, Dion Ignacio, Paolo Contis, Sef Cadeyona and Vaness Del Moral.

After the parade, contestants and spectators converged at the city plaza for the focal presentation of the participating clustered barangays, an event won by the southern barangays which was declared as this year’s Gilon-Gilon champions.

Cluster 4, which is composed of barangays Caranglaan, Bacayao Norte, Bacayao Sur, Mayombo and Herrero-Perez, received the grand prize of P200,000 as well as the Best in Street Dancing award of P20,000 for a total of P220,000.

In her speech, Mayor Belen T. Fernandez revealed how the annual festivities contributed to the rapid and continuous progress of the city, which produces the best-tasting milkfish not only in the Philippines but also all over the world.

 “Ang Bangus Festival ay pagtitipon nating mga tunay na nagmamahal sa lungsod ng Dagupan, na iisa ang puso, iisa ang damdamin, at iisa ang hangarin – na lalo pang mapaunlad ang ating pangkalahatang pamumuhay,”  added Fernandez.

The ‘Gilon Gilon ed Baley’ street dancing competition is one of the major highlights of the month-long celebration of the Bangus Festival that ushers in a slew of activities lasting up to May 1.

On April 13, PESO Dagupan held its annual Bangus Festival Mega Job Fair at CSI atrium specifically for fresh graduates and job-seekers in the city.

The Dagupan Autogroup also hosted the 6th Invitational Slalom Competition last April 14 at the CSI Helipad for car enthusiasts.

Sports events are also included in this year’s festivities, with the city already hosting the Windsurfing clinic and Cup as well as Philswimm’s CNL-CAR Qualifiers.

The city is also set to hold the 4th Open Invitation Amateur Kickboxing Tournament on April 16; the Dagupan City Bangus Festival Golf Open 2019 on April 28; and the Bangus Festival Open Boxing Championship on May 1.

Major events such as the Bangus Rodeo and the Bangusine: Family Recipes with a twist will also be parts of the Bangus Festival.

The Bangus Rodeo, a fun-filled search for the longest, heaviest and most beautiful Bonuan bangus, will be held on April 23 in front of the city plaza.

The Bangusine: Family Recipes with a Twist, which will feature the Dagupan City bangus in various unique cuisines, will be held the following day at the city plaza, on April 24.

Meanwhile, the  Jayceeken’s “Tren na Dayew” singing competition will hold its grand finals on April 25 at the city plaza.

The Bangus Festival 2019 will culminate with the holding of the Bangusan Street Party on April 30 along the De Venecia Road extension, which is expected to draw up to a million crowd.

This year, it will feature bands like Juan Karlos, Parokya Ni Edgar, This Band, I Belong to the Zoo, Spongecola, Ben&Ben, Abra and many more.

GMA-7’s biggest stars will also be making an appearance during the street party. Confirmed artists coming include Manolo Pedrosa, Therese Malvar, Kyline Alcantara of “Inagaw na Bituin”; as well as Shaira Diaz, Kiray Celis and Yasser Marta of “Love You Two.”

The festivities will conclude on May 1, with the holding of the boxing championship at the Tondaligan Beach and Bangus Sireyna 2019 at the city plaza as parts of the annual “Pista’y Dayat’. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)