Bohols UBI Festival

Bohol’s annual UBI Festival was celebrated for the 9th time! Banners screamed this year’s theme: “Ubing Bol-anon Tubag Sa Kawad-on, Atong Palambuon”. The festival was held on January 29, 2009 at the Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center (B-APC), Dao, Tagbilaran City.

Ubi is sacred to us Bol-anons! We venerate it! So much so, that we kiss it whenever it accidentally falls on the ground. Well, we were taught to do this since we were small by our parents and elders. It is an ingrained habit!

And why? The lowly Ubi saved our parents and our ancestors countless of times from hunger and eventual death. It was the only crop that thrives during droughts and easily available in the mountains when they went to hide from their oppressors during the Japanese, American and even during the Spanish occupation.

They value the Ubi so much so that descendants were taught to value it and were exhorted to plant it wherever possible: in plastic and clay pots and direct on the ground in their backyards. The trailing stems and the heart-shaped leaves of the Ubi is a common sight on the island.

Ubi is God-given! It thrives in the most inhabitable soil: over rocky and sandy terrain. It is produced much in Dauis, Guindulman, Alburquerque and other towns. It is Bohol’s provincial plant and the only plant reflected in its Bohol Hymn.

Now, Bohol is recognized as the largest Ubi producer in the country! And it is the main source of Ubi Kinampay – a variety which is sweet and purple-colored, a favorite ingredient for ice cream, cakes and pastries and now made into jam, pastilles, candies and other desserts.

Demand for Bohol’s Ubi and its by-products are steadily growing, locally and in the global market. The local government is now in the lookout for ways and means to produce more of it to meet the demands. Farmers are now exhorted to plant it. Training and seminars are given out to educate more farmers on Ubi farming.

It now rings loud and clear that the lowly Ubi did not only save our ancestors from death, it will eventually lift up Bohol’s economy from decline to prosperity! So it is only fitting that we Bol-anons set a special day out of every year to give it honor.

And what is the proper time for revelry and rejoicing? Harvest time! The Ubi is usually harvested on the month of January so the festival is scheduled on this month. And it is on this occasion that Ubi farmers gather to share ideas on farming and investment opportunities for their product; exhibit their produce and sell it at a much lower price than usual to attract buyers to the affair.

To add color to the occasion, various activities are lined up such as: a motorcade usually from Plaza Rizal to the selected venue; ribbon cutting then program to open the Ubi Fair where the different varieties of Ubi are displayed plus their by-products.

The festival is joined by the local government unit of each town, farmers, Ubi processors and other agricultural key players of the industry. They vie for the Best Booth, the Most Promising Ubi Processed Product and Ubi Cuisine aside from Poster-making, the Literary Musical Competition. A cultural show and the search for the Miss Ubi Queen are also held.

The festival is spearheaded by the Provincial Government of Bohol thru the Provincial Agriculture Office in partnership with the LIFE Phil. Foundation Inc.; Bohol Ubi Center Foundation, Inc.; the Department of Agriculture through the Bohol Agricultural Promotion Center (B-APC); Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) and DA-CENVIARC CES, Gabi, Ubay.

Bohol's Ubi Kinampay

The Purple Yam of Dauis

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