Camotes Cassava Festival is an annual harvest thanksgiving celebration being held by the locals of Tudela, Camotes Islands in Cebu Province.
The town celebrates the festivity in line with religious aspects by holding the events recognizing the town’s patron – Mary Immaculate. To emphasize that connection, the festival is being held during the first two weeks of June (from around June 4-15).
However, aside from its religious association, it is fundamentally a festival celebrating the bountiful harvest of the local crops – cassava (‘kamoteng kahoy’) and sweet potato (‘kamote’)
“Kamote”, which is believed to be the source of the island’s present name, refers to both crops – cassava and sweet potato. Farmers recognized these two root crops as staple foods that support their livelihood.
Beside cassava and sweet potato, farmers also till their lands planting various crops including corn, coconut, vegetables, sugar cane and other common tropical crops that can grow on the island.
Interestingly, when farmers are done preparing their crops and waiting for harvest, they have time to do other work – that is – fishing. The island is surrounded by fecund coral reef and diverse marine life.
Diverse tropical fishes, seashells, and all edible sea resources are readily available for the more industrious farmers who want to catch fish for family consumption and/or for the local fish market’s supply.
Okay, going back to Camotes cassava festival…
Camotes Island people, especially the Tudela residents, have interesting and exciting ways to celebrate this annual event. The local government, in collaboration with the locals and various organizations, plans activities that can motivate everybody to contribute and make the most out of this 2-week long festivity more meaningful and fruitful.
They usually organized various sorts of contests – both individual and group competitions.
For example, there will be contest for cassava-based products displays, cooking competition, exhibits of various sorts, beauty pageant, best booth contest, poster-making, search for new cassava food product, Miss Camotes Tourism contest, and a cultural night with variety shows.
Among the most interesting events during this period is the street dancing and performance of various groups. There will be groups that are supported and organized school teachers and supporters to compete.
The winners will be judged basically by their costumes, dance steps and routines, and overall performance which includes the choreography and all.
The participants in this street dancing, which usually portrays and expresses gratitude for the bountiful harvest of cassava and sweet potato, wear very colorful and intricately designed costumes depicting the meaning of the festival.
Beauty Pageant Competition
In almost all events in the country, there is always an event of this sort. Filipinos love this competition because it is fun and entertaining to watch and it is during such an event that people socialize, meet acquaintances and support their contestant – who is someone’s daughter or a friend’s daughter.
Such a competition does not only encourage locals to recognize and be proud of their own beauty but also shows the contestant’s talents, intelligence, and sense of responsibility and vision for their society.
Sharing technical expertise and knowledge
During this festival, they do not only showcase by-products in the booths but also where farmers and researchers share their knowledge and expertise about cassava and sweet potato.
They explain the methods and processes of producing cassava and camote to any interested individuals, that is, from planting and harvesting period to offering samples of what products can be produced out of such resources.
For the harvested cassavas, expert farmers can tell you how they process the resource to make it marketable for livelihood. Every year they try to create a product base on cassava (and camote) crop.
Basically, cassava is used to make powder products for cooking and other usages such as making pastes, clothing treatments, among others.
As a food, you can easily prepare it by simply cooking it in boiling water (you can put some salt and coconut milk – my preference). Or, if you are a baker and have a talent in cooking, you can prepare a delicious cassava cake, cookies, ‘putong balanghoy’ (steamed cassava cake), budbod (rolled ground cassava in banana leaves with ingredients including coconut meat, sugar, peanut paste, etc.).
For the sweet potato (kamote), you can also prepare or make products out of it in various ways. This is, by the way, easier to cook than cassava and could be more expensive than cassava is.
You can just boil kamote in a pot and consume when it is soft. Or, most would love it deep-fried in oil and coated with brown sugar, which is popularly called ‘camote cue’ or ‘tinuhog nga kamote’.
Similar to cassava, sweet potato can also be powdered and used for various purposes and other products – mostly food products.
Anyway, if you found Camotes Cassava Festival worth witnessing, you will not only find it fun but you will also enjoy exploring Camotes Island’s beauty. The island is popular among tourists and holiday-makers.
There are great resorts that offer various rates, facilities and services for your choice. If you want to find a place to stay in while on the island, please easily avail the links in this page.
Thanks a lot for visiting this website and hopefully this has offered you some tips and guides for your travel and exploration of the island or the whole province of Cebu.