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Backtrack on the Salagubang Pestebal of Tuy

Before the Mamang-os and Kambingan Festival, Tuy had another festival you should learn about. Er, “pestebal”, that is.

Article contributed by Ken Michael Escamillas

Batanguenos are really clever! We are fond of creating unique yet ingenious things which will surely create a mark to everyone. As I have searched about festivities here in the province, I have discovered one unique festival which reflects Batangueño creativity. And that comes from Tuy – the Salagubang Pestebal.

A Festival with Purpose

Sugarcane farmers from Tuy thought that having this festival is the best way of killing the pest – the June bee or locally known as the Salagubang. The sand colored, thumb-sized winged insect is small but is the terrible enemy of farmers that damage of all their crops being produced. The white grubs or the larvae bites the roots of sugarcane while the beetles eat up the leaves and stems.

Imagine, they can make 97 million-peso damage every year. The towns of Balayan and Calaca had also experienced 66 million-peso loss on crops due to salagubang infestation.

And with this, Salagubang Pestebal existed which pursued to have an economic and environment-friendly way of controlling the salagubang infestation.

Tuyused to celebrate the Salagubang Pestebal in June 15 and 16 of every year which I assumed to be filled with unusual yet exciting activities.

What’s in the festival?

Well, you never heard of the word “Ug-og” right?

Primarily, one of the aims of Salagubang Pestebal is the massive collection of salagubang which is their own way of controlling the infestation. This is done by doing ug-og. People shake the trees, catch and put the fallen salagubangs in the sack. The one who collected the most number of salagubang wins a cash prize.

To add up zing, Salagubang Pestebal begins with parade of floats and Salagubang mascots. There are also games like salagubang race and wrestling and “That’s my Salagubang” where contestants were dressed up with Salagubang costumes. Another one was the Salagubang Fear Factor Challenge, which dares the contestants to do challenges like eating a live salagubang or lie on a bed of salagubang for the longest time possible.

The much awaited event of the festival was the Langhap Sarap Cooking Challenge. The prime ingredient, of course salagubang. Participants were allowed to create their own dishes but it should highlight the salagubang.

Salagubang is actually edible. It is said to be rich in protein and contains vitamins and minerals found in sugarcanes.

Now, I can say that Salagubang Pestebal is purely strategic and fun. It is so amazing to know that Batanguenos are also good thinkers of feasible solutions. Yet, above all, they see to it that there’s teamwork among the people showed in the most festive way.

I shall say that Salagubang Pestebal is one of the strongest trademarks of Tuy. And I hope this mark will be remembered for years.

Source: newsflash.org, batanggenyo.net

Photo credit: pilya.deviantart.com, batanggenyo.net, kabeetmaps.com

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