Bambanti Village is an eco-agricultural exhibit and sale held during the annual Bambanti Festival. Located near the Isabela Provincial Capitol Building, the village features different booths from the 33 municipalities and 3 cities in Isabela Province, each decorated with their own life-sized bambanti (scarecrow figure) and unique products from their respective towns.
The village is open for the whole duration of the Bambanti Festival and is also part of a competition — the best booths and bambanti figures win corresponding prizes from the local government.
Our visit to the Bambanti Village
We stayed in Isabela for almost a week for the Bambanti Festival 2024. For me, one of the highlights is exploring the Bambanti Village.
First of all, I love the craftsmanship of the giant bambantis — they were beautifully crafted, using organic, biodegradable materials that represent each town. Interestingly, each town spent only a week to make the booths and the bambantis.
Each booth also sells various products, ranging from beautiful woven clothes, bags, and accessories to household items like lamps, art displays, and more. There are also various food items sold, including Filipino favorites such as cornicks, banana chips, and — for the adventurous — crispy crawlings (deep-fried and flavored igges or worms). Fresh fruits and vegetables also abound, with hard-to-find items such as mushroom growing kits.
For those who are looking for pasalubong, there are different bugnay wines, chocolates and other cacao products, canned fish and longganisa bits, and other specialty items.
The booths are full of character, representing the culture, lifestyle, and primary product of each town. For instance, the town of San Mateo, dubbed the “Mongo Capital of the Philippines“, features a bambanti made from munggo (mung beans) and sells various munggo products such as munggo pancit and lami, munggo coffee, different-flavored munggo chips, and munggo ice cream.
Maconacon, a beautiful coastal town known for its bountiful sea harvests, boasts a mermaid bambanti made from sea shells and clams. Echague, one of the top producers of pineapple and home of the Yogad — an indigenous group, features a pineapple-shaped dome and special products such as pineapple vinegar and pinyemas (yema made with pineapple).
Some of the booths delve deeper into the lives of the Isabela people. The booth of Cauayan City features the traditional attire of the Gaddang, an indigenous tribe making up half of the population of the city.
Meanwhile, other booths offer a glimpse into the beauty of their town. Divilacan, a coastal area with nature attractions, features a booth similar to a lanai, decorated with a sea turtle ceiling and a giant bambanti made from sea shells. Inside, they sell local handcrafts such as woven baskets made from nito (a sturdy wooden material), sea shell chandelier, sea shell bracelets and other accessories, and more.
Roxas stands out with its modern-designed booth, which is built like a kalabasa (squash) and featuring a shiny, metal water buffalo as its bambanti. Known for their produce, they sell low-land vegetables and its products.
The Bambanti Village isn’t your ordinary trade fair. It’s unique market that showcases the diverse livelihood of the Isabela people, as well as their lifestyle and culture. It’s a family-friendly affair too, with giant bambantis and food stalls to entertain children. It’s one of the must-see affairs when you visit Isabela for the Bambanti Festival.
You can watch a clip of our tour at Bambanti Village here:
Winning entries for Bambanti Festival 2024
This year’s Bambanti Festival was held from January 22 to 27, with the theme “Ettam Ngana ta Isabela” (Tara Lets sa Isabela). Bambanti Village was opened to the public throughout the celebration, from morning ’til night.
For the Bambanti Festival 2024 competition, these are the winners:
- Category A: Echague, followed by Ilagan City and Cauayan City
- Category B: Cordon, followed by San Pablo and Quirino
- Category A: Ilagan City, followed by Echague and San Mariano
- Category B: Cordon, followed by Burgos and Delfin Albano
If you are interested to know more, make sure to visit Bambanti Village in the next Bambanti Festival! Each town also hosts their own festival, so check your calendar to plan your trip.
For news about upcoming festivals, you may check out Isabela PIO in Facebook.
Other things to see at Bambanti Festival
Bambanti Festival is an annual celebration featuring the bambanti (an Ilocano word for scarecrow), which serves as protector of harvests. It is held every fourth week of January.
Aside from the Bambanti Village, the festival also holds the following activities:
- Street Dance Competition
- Dance Showdown
- Queen Isabela
- Makan ken Mainum (Food and Drink cooking competition)
- Musical concerts and performances
Read about the Bambanti Festival 2024 here.
Have you been to the Bambanti Village for the Bambanti Festival in Isabela Province? Let us know your experience below!
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Planning a trip to Isabela Province? Here are our guides on Isabela:
- Best Tourist Spots in Isabela
- Best Tourist Spots in Palanan, Isabela
- Blue Lagoon
- Dibulo Falls
- Philippine Crocodile Conservation Center
Katherine Cortes is a long-time backpacker and a freelance writer/editor. She likes beaches, snorkeling trips, and relaxing staycations (preferably with bath tubs!).