440 carabaos paraded during annual ‘Nuang Festival’ in San Agustin, Isabela

In keeping with the assiduous celebration of San Agustin town’s “Nuang Festival”, proud owners of hundreds of crossbreds and native carabaos paraded their hulking animals along the streets of the town last September 28.

Their 440 crossbreds and native carabaos “blackened” the streets where they were paraded. Majority of them are crossbreds which are products of continuing crossbreeding program in that town.

The parade was one of the highlights of the twin celebrations of San Agustin – the “14th Nuang Festival” and the commemoration of the town’s “69th Araw ng San Agustin” (founding day).

“Nuang” is an Ilocano term for carabao. The festival is a much-anticipated occasion for carabao-owners as they are given the chance to flaunt their beloved crossbreds at the center stage of the festivities. It serves also as an occasion for gaining public recognition of their significant achievement in participating and sustaining a program designed for the improvement of the breed of native carabaos.

No doubt, the crossbreeding efforts in this town have already paid off as evidenced by the 2,068-head crossbreds inventoried by a research team at the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC). The said research project is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).

The town is long girding to be called the “Crossbred Carabao Capital of the Philippines.”

The increasing number of crossbred carabaos in San Agustin has been made possible through the continuous efforts of the town’s local government unit to implement the use of artificial insemination (A.I.) program specifically for the production of improved breed of carabaos.

Thousands of the town’s carabao owners partnered with the PCC and various agencies and entities for the crossbreeding program.

In the recently held “Nuang Festival”, competitions involving the crossbreds were also held. The titles vied for were “Best Buffalo in Milk Production”, “Best Dairy Caracow”, “Best Dressed Buffalo for female”, and “Best Draft Carabao for native male”.

The owners of the winning carabao crossbreds received cash prizes. The farmers who participated in the parade, likewise, were given Php300 each as incentive.

Four officials of PCC took part in the event and spoke during the program. They were Dr. Annabelle Sarabia, Research for Development Division Chief at PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool; Ma. Theresa Sawit, PCC Head of Socio Economics and Policy Research; and Prof. Franklin Rellin and Edelina Rellin, Center Director and Senior Science Research Specialist of PCC at Cagayan State University, respectively.

Concerting efforts in organizing the Nuang Festival were accorded by Hon. Virgilio Padilla, Municipal Vice Mayor and Acting Municipal Mayor; Joel Pascual, Sangguniang Bayan Member; Engr. Blas Lamug, Municipal Agriculturist, and the whole local government unit of San Agustin town.