Just one more and there will be 2000 of them.
The figure refers to the crossbreds in San Agustin, a town in Isabela, which is at the easternmost part of the province. The town is girding to be called the “Crossbred Carabao Capital of the Philippines.”
Last September 27, in keeping with the town’s tradition, proud owners of hundreds of crossbred carabaos paraded their hulking animals along the streets of the town. The animal parade was one of the highlights of the celebration of the town’s “9th Nuang (Carabao) Festival” and the commemoration of its 64th “Araw ng San Agustin” which lasted till September 28.
As of last count by the stakeholders of the bid of San Agustin to be the “Crossbred Capital”, there is already a total of 1,999 (and counting) crossbreds owned by the farmers in various villages in the municipality.
The increasing number of crossbred carabaos in San Agustin is made possible through the continuous effort of the town’s local government unit to implement the use of artificial insemination (A.I.) program among thousands of its rural farmers in partnership with various agencies and entities.
According to Mayor Virgilio Padilla, their current status as producer of the most number of crossbreds among the different municipalities in the country was achieved with the help of the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC), which promoted the AI program to them in 1993, and with continuous support from Gov. Faustino Dy III of Isabela and other development partners.
It can be recalled that in 2011, Gov. Dy gave P5M to San Agustin to strengthen the town’s carabao development program.
As a result, Padilla said the farmers in their town continued to improve their economic status as the fund was given to construct a number of milking barns in response to increasing local fresh production.
Retired municipal Agriculturist Julio Lamug, who led in the implementation of the AI program when it was started in San Agustin about two decades ago, said that their town was able to establish a processing plant which is now on its second year of operation because of support from program partners.
The carabao improvement program continues to be the San Agustin’s banner program.
The “Nuang Festival” is held annually as highlight of the town’s founding anniversary celebration to underscore the achievement of the farmers in their participation in the CDP and in attaining production of crossbreds in increasing number for their livelihood activities.
In the recent “Nuang Festival”, different competitions involving the crossbreds were also held wherein the “Best Buffalo in Milk Production”, “Best Dairy Carabao”, “Best Dressed Buffaloes”, “Best Draft Carabao” and “Best Carabao in Running” were selected.
The owners of the winning carabao crossbreds received cash prizes. The farmers who participated in the parade likewise were each given P200 to defray their expenses in bringing their crossbreds to the town proper for the parade.
Three officials of PCC took part in the event and spoke during the program. They were Dr. Annabelle Sarabia, operations chief at PCC National Headquarters and Gene Pool; Dr. Edwin Atabay, center director at PCC at Central Luzon State University; and Prof. Frank T. Rellin, center director of PCC at Cagayan State University.
They lauded leaders, the farmers and other stakeholders in their continuing efforts to upgrade the breed of the town’s native carabaos to produce more milk and meat for the benefit of farmers, in particular, and San Agustin in general.