It has been a tradition of the Filipinos to celebrate different festivals every month, and one of them is the Mercedes Fishtival. From its name, it is pretty obvious what this festival is all about!
Mercedes Fishtival or also known as the Kadagatan Festival is usually celebrated in the first week of August in Mercedes, Camarines Norte. The word “Kadagatan” originates from “dagat,” which means “sea” in Filipino, while Fishtival is a combination of “fish” and “festival.” (Read: 3 YouTube Documentaries About Filipino Catholic Traditions)
Want to know more about the Mercedes Fishtival? Read below.
Mercedes Fishtival: Celebration of fishermen
Fishermen play an important role in the town of Mercedes, they provide seafood and other marine products in the markets that benefit many communities. The Mercedes Fishtival is a thanksgiving festival by local fisherfolk for all the blessings and bounty they received during seafaring, fish farming, and fishing expeditions.
The festival is dedicated as a time of annual thanksgiving for the abundance from the Almighty God amid the harmful fish cultivation efforts in the district. It is a way to promote good and sustainable fishing practices among anglers and fisherfolk to take care of the sea and marine animals.
Mercedes Fishtival: Giving respect to Mother Nature
It is not only a week-long festival, but also a moment of retrospect and recognition of Mother Nature for blessing Mercedes with a gift of vast marine and fishery resources, breathtaking shorelines, other aquatic potentials, and the wise utilization and preservation of ecological balance for the attainment of environmental nobility and beauty that provide the fishermen’s needs.
As a form of appreciation and to express their gratitude, the residents of Mercedes offer Mother Nature huge fishery assets and long sublime coastlines of Camarines Norte. (Read: 5 Standout Shrines of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary in the PH)
Mercedes Fishtival: How is it celebrated?
The Mercedes Fishtival parade incorporates fish and marine animals-inspired motorcades, mascots, floats, and entertaining shows! There are watercraft races, angling rivalries, and other activities to enjoy.
To represent the excellence and significance of the sea, some locals and participants in the parade wear and use fish and marine animal figures, mermaid costumes, and sea-themed outfits! It feels like under the sea and watching the beauty of the vast ocean.
Through mass and religious activities, the residents and fisherfolk ask for God’s guidance to continue to bless their town and marine resources. (Read: Bring the Pahiyas festival to your home by making your own Kiping!)
Mercedes Fishtival: Must-try food
Of course, festivals are not complete without food to feast on! The best highlight in the Mercedes Fishtival is the local dishes in Bicol. Residents serve delicious dishes, mostly seafood such as Kinunot na Isda, Tinumok, Fried Tulingan, Bicol Express, and more.
For the desserts, the most popular is the soft cake roll filled with sweet milk and chopped pili called Pili Roll. If you prefer an ice-cold dessert, try the Tiwi halo-halo! It is similar to Halo-halo, but with added crunch and more ingredients like corn flakes, red mung beans, white beans, kaong, and colorful jellies. (Read: 4 Kinds of Halo-Halo You Need to Try At Least Once)
Looking for delicacies? Surprise your loved ones with some kakanin and sweets from Bicol! The best pasalubong is linubak, which is made with mashed kamoteng kahoy, bananas, or taro, sugar, and milk. Another one is the crunchy toasted siopao and bukayo, a dessert made from sweetened coconut strips.