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Benguet’s Strawberry Festival canceled

By: - Correspondent / @kquitasolINQ
/ 04:55 AM January 19, 2021

RED BERRIES Strawberries abound the public market of Baguio City, selling for as low as P75 a kilogram. The fruits are mostly grown in La Trinidad, the capital of Benguet province, which is forced to cancel its Strawberry Festival in March due to the pandemic. —EV ESPIRITU

BAGUIO CITY, Benguet, Philippines — The Strawberry Festival in Benguet’s capital town of La Trinidad has been canceled amid the growing cases of COVID-19 in the province, its mayor, Romeo Salda, announced on Sunday.

The event is held yearly in March since it was staged in 1981.

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As of Monday, Benguet had recorded 53 new infections, mostly from La Trinidad and the province’s mining district, records from the provincial health office showed.
Benguet has registered 3,761 cases since March last year and about 500 of these remained active.

Closed to tourists

Among the biggest attractions of La Trinidad, known as the country’s “strawberry capital,” are the farms where tourists could pick ripe strawberries.
But the fields are closed to visitors due to local regulations against leisure travel.

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Records from the municipal agriculture office showed at least 700 strawberry farms in La Trinidad, mostly in the villages of Betag, Balili, Poblacion, Tawang, Puguis, Pico and Wangal.

In 2018, more than 1,000 metric tons of strawberries were produced in 49 hectares of the farms.

Last year, Salda also skipped the monthlong festival due to Luzon-wide lockdown from March to May and the subsequent quarantine. In the past years, local strawberry growers would display their harvests and compete for the title of heaviest and sweetest berries as part of the highlights of the festival.

With the closure of tourism-related activities, the provincial government has lost almost P100 million in potential revenue.

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TAGS: Benguet Strawberry Festival, coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus Philippines, quarantine restrictions
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