Bani, Pangasinan has a way of promoting itself as the Watermelon Capital of the North. This is by holding its annual watermelon festival. On January 28 to February 4, 2017 the town held its 4th Pakwan Festival. The annual festival is also one way of promoting the town as a tourist destination.
One highlight of the event was the Farmers Agri Trade Fair wherein the farmers were given the chance to display and sell their watermelons and other agricultural products. Many of them showcased the varieties they are really proud of.
Ardy Oineza of Brgy. San Simon displayed his two favorite varieties with big fruits. One is China Baby, a Charleston Grey type with light green rind and bright red flesh. It is a big variety with fruits averaging 10 to 12 kilos each. Some even weigh as heavy as 16 kilos per fruit. The fruit has shelf life of 7 to 10 days and with good shipping quality.
Ardy Oineza’s other big-fruited watermelon is Factor, a Crimson sweet type with water color like thick stripes, pink flesh, averaging 10 to 14 kilos per fruit. Factor has a long shelf life of 10 to 14 days and also has good shipping quality.
The other major highlight of the event was the Harvest Festival. For this, Known You Philippines and other seed companies supplying watermelon seeds were invited to put up their own demo farms to showcase their watermelon varieties. Aside from introducing their varieties, the harvest festival was also a means of disseminating the improved techniques of planting and managing the crop up to postharvest and marketing operations.
Known-You Philippines which hosted the Farmers Harvest Festival brought the participants to the company’s demo farm and showed them the different characteristics of the watermelon varieties planted there.
The festival included contests in having the Heaviest Pakwan, Pakwan eating contest, Pakwan seed spitting contest and watermelon catching contest.
Other highlights of the 4th Pakwan Festival also included street dancing competition and a drum and lyre competition.
Jolly Calisaan of the Bani Pakwan Growers Association said he was overwhelmed by the success of the event which gathered all their members who have been planting watermelon for more than a decade and who have been contributing to the trademark of Bani as the Watermelon Capital of the North.