With rising temperatures and the blazing sun shining even brighter, it seems like it's the start of another sizzling summer. The town of Esperanza in Sultan Kudarat just made summer even cooler with its upcoming Halo-Halo Festival on April 6-8, 2018.
Halo-halo is the quintessential Filipino favorite snack: made with a base of white beans, red munggo, sago at gulaman, macapuno, kaong, ube halaya, nata de coco, langka, and minatamis na saging and mixed with crushed or shaved ice topped with pinipig, leche flan, and a scoop of ice cream. Milk is poured on top, creating a perfect, uniquely Filipino dessert.
Being a country of many islands, each place has different versions of the halo-halo, some have spiced it up while some have establishments that have become household names like the Apareja in South Cotabato.
The Esperanza Halo-halo has 10 basic ingredients or sahog: buko, pinya, langka, ube, mani, avocado, banana, red beans, kamote, and melon.
With the popularity of the halo-halo not just with the Filipinos, Esperanza now bids to be the halo-halo capital of the Philippines and hopes the sweetness will drive the tourists in.
What could we expect from the festival?
1. Wow Stalls. This is a contest for the most beautiful stall in keeping with this year’s over-all tribal theme and showing the colors of the halo-halo. Vendors manning the stalls should also be presentable and clean.
2. Brain Freeze Challenge. Individuals and pairs, who can consume the halo-halo the fastest and survive a brain freeze, will win the challenge. The catch here is that, contestants are blindfolded.
3. Frozen Delight Challenge. This is open for pairs. One sits on a chair and holds a block of ice with his/her two hands while the other feeds him/her halo-halo. The pair to hold the ice longest wins.
4. Eat-All-You-Can Halo-halo. Individuals who can consume the most number of halo-halo, wins.
5. "Maria Went To Wown To Eat Halo-halo" by group. Groups will dress up like the traditional "Maria Went To Town Game" and eat halo-halo in relay.
6. Veggie Halo-Halo. The most delicious halo-halo with ingredients made from vegetables wins.
7. Halo-Halo Overload. An individual should eat at all the 29 halo-halo stalls during the 3-day festival.
8. Tricy Cool Treats. The winner for this contest will be the tricycle driver who can bring in the most number of passengers to the venue to eat halo-halo.
9. Body painting Contest. Water-based paints will be used for painting the body. Designs should have halo-halo theme.
10. Giant Halo-halo with ice showers. This is not a contest but a display of a big halo-halo with its shaved ice showering people.
11. Float Parade, Fruit Parade. Floats adorned with halo-halo, ice, and fruits will parade around the contest venue and in the streets of the town.
12. Parade of Sahog Mascots. Mascots of the sahog or ingredients of the halo-halo like macapuno, red beans, and langka will be going around the festival premises.
So many activities to join-in to have some fun and just plain enjoy the coolness of halo-halo on these hot summer days. So let’s go and refresh in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat!
How to get there:
From Manila and Cebu, take the plane to Davao City or Cotabato City. Upon reaching these cities, take the bus to Tacurong, Sultan Kudarat then ride the bus or van to Esperanza. If you are coming from Cotabato, ask the driver or conductor to drop you in Esperanza. Ride the tricycle and go straight to the municipal hall and coordinate with their Tourism Officer, Mr. Renato Sambrano.
What's your favorite halo-halo flavor? Share it over on www.ChoosePhilippines.com, or post it with the hashtag #ChoosePhilippines!