In Dagupan City, the “rodeo” of fish returns to center stage at the Bangus Festival

CLASSIFICATION ROUND “Bangus” (milkfish) producer Fernando Doria Jr. wins the Milkfish Classification Contest, where contestants sort fish into four different weight classes at the Bangus Rodeo on April 28, one of the events of the This year’s Bangus Festival in Dagupan City. —WILLIE LUMIBAO

DAGUPAN CITY – A local competition showcasing the skills of local “bangus” (milkfish) producers and fish pond workers returned here on Thursday as one of the main attractions of the revived annual Bangus Festival, which was canceled for the past two years due to the pandemic.

The Bangus Rodeo has been a traditional festival event since it was started by the late Mayor Benjamin Lim in 2002 to showcase the city’s best produce and families committed to fish farming.

Dagupan bangus have been dubbed the “tastiest in the world” due to their juicy and tender flesh, which operators say is acquired due to the quality of the water in the aquaculture areas and the “lablab “, a kind of seaweed found at the bottom. fish ponds.

The Bangus Rodeo competitions were dominated by the Caguiao family from Lucao district, taking first and second prizes in the prettiest category, first in the longest and third in the heaviest, according to the event organizers. sponsored by leading integrated aquaculture company Feedmix Specialist. Inc.

As in other “beauty” contests, their entries went through an intensive selection process, said Adela Caguiao, the family matriarch.

Caguiao said the previous night, the family harvested some 8,000 coins from their pond in the Lucao district and chose the best to compete in the competition held in front of the town square.

What it takes to be the most beautiful

According to the mechanics of the contest, a “pretty bangus” must have clear, well-rounded eyes; scales fine, smooth and orderly; and a beautifully crafted little head. It must also have red and fresh grills, a bulging belly, firm and soft flesh, and must not weigh less than half a kilo but not more than a kilo.

Caguiao’s entry for the most beautiful bangus scored 99% to win first prize and 96% to win second prize.

For the longest bangus, the entry Caguiao, which measured 87.5 centimeters, won the first prize, while the first prize for the heaviest was obtained by Marcos Discipulo, whose entry weighed 6.24 kilos .

Imelda Santillan, also from the district of Lucao, came out on top in the category of the fastest bangus “debossers” by setting a record of one minute and 33.43 seconds.

She beat the time of Rosalie Pascua, who clocked 1:36.33 minutes in 2019.

In the fastest bangus eating contest, Jaime Bucao was able to consume two pieces of grilled bangus in two minutes, 14.31 seconds to win the contest.

The fastest bangus classifier, or sorting bangus into four different weight classes, was won by Fernando Doria Jr.

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