The drive to make Nueva Ecija a tourism and travel destination received a big boost with a convergence of festivals by different towns and cities in this province, under the public-private partnership.
Provincial tourism officer Lorna Mae Vero said the first-ever Nueva Ecija Harvest festival that featured the festivities of at least eight municipalities and two cities of the province, in partnership with the Provincial Tourism Office and the SM City Cabanatuan Saturday, was a historical event that paves the way for an upscaled cultural tourism.
“Hindi mabubura sa alaala at kasaysayan na ito ‘yung kauna-unahang ginanap. Ang isang public-private partnership at kung may pagsasama-sama wala talaga tayong pupuntahan kung hindi pag-unlad ( It can no longer be erased in the memory and history that this was the first ever held. A public-private partnership and if there are unity and cooperation, we can never go anywhere but progress), Vero said.
She stressed that tourism is not only about beautiful places, eco-tourism, or farm tourism, but also about culture and heritage.
“Tourism is what we are doing now. It is cultural tourism. Our festivals, foods and faces and on how we live and dream,”she said.
Mark Carlo Herrera, mall manager of SM City Cabanatuan, said the Nueva Ecija Harvest festival that was conducted at the mall’s open car park from 3 p.m. to nighttime Saturday was a consolidation of the province’s awesome festivals.
The festival was primarily a presentation of the towns’ and cities’ street dances that evolved in their own culture, history and life.
Among the local government units (LGUs), which participated, were the towns of Bongabon, Cuyapo, Guimba, Llanera, Nampicuan, Rizal, San Antonio, Zaragoza, and the cities Palayan and San Jose.
“We realized that Nueva Ecija has lot of things thay can offer, one of them are the festivals. Very rich culture and history. That’s why we came about to showcase each and everyone of them in one location, particularly SM City Cabanatuan. So by this, we were able to highlight the best that the province can bring to you,” said Herrera as he also underscored the local products and food which each municipality or city has.
“The talents of the youths here. We want to show those talents not only in Cabanatuan City but in the whole country,” he added.
Actor and First District Board Mamber Rommel Padilla said the first Nueva Ecija Harvest festival also showed the resilience of Novo Ecijanos, who can withstand challenges, especially that farmers have recently been affected by Typhoon Ompong.