By Rex M. Rubio
“My [oldest] memory was when I was child, there were a lot of fruits displayed in the islands of Kidapawan and I promised myself that if I will be given the chance to lead this beautiful city, I will bring it back and I will bring a better version of our Timpupo Festival.” This is how Atty. Jose Paolo M. Evangelista, the city mayor of Kidapawan, opened his speech in Cebuano during the culmination activity of the weeklong Timpupo, or Harvest Festival, which ran from August 12 to August 18, 2023.
One of the Timpupo floats that graced metro Kidapawan’s national highway during the culmination of its Timpupo Festival.
“There comes a time in the flight of an airplane when the pilot decides whether to bring the airplane to the air or abort the flight. My brothers and sisters in Kidapawan, we are on a cross road right now. Whether we let Kidapawan City take off as a first class city in the Philippines or we will remain a small city. Looking at all the fruits, our farmers’ support, and the private sector, I have no doubt that Kidapawan City has decided to take off and take flight to greater heights in the future,” Atty. Evangelista further said.
During the culmination activity, the City Government of Kidapawan, through its Tourism Office, also launched its new tourism campaign calling Kidapawan “a city where nature meets adventure, peace is a culture, people are our greatest treasure and celebration is a way of life.”
A celebration for fruit lovers
Longing to revive the celebration and help uplift the income of growing farmers, the city and the local government went all out. For Marissa Aton, the city agriculturist, this year’s celebration is a way to recognize the efforts of the local farmers to boost the local economy despite the effects of the pandemic in the previous years and the prevailing impact of unpredictable weather conditions, which affects fruit production.
“We want to recognize every Kidapaweño. Since the opening on August 12, the city government has formally opened 15 stalls for our fruit farmers to display their products free of charge. This area is called Kidapawan Fruit Stalls and Pasalubong Center, where they can showcase their harvested fruits like mangosteen, lanzones, marang, durian, and many others,” city agriculturist Aton further said.
A long table of fresh fruits like rambutan, durian, lanzones, marang, and Mangosteen are set ready for the culmination activity of Kidapawan City’s Timpupo, or Harvest Festival.
Aton also shared that the culmination of Timpupo this year highlighted a kilometer of 12. 5 tons of fresh fruits displayed along Quezon Boulevard on August 18, where the city government of Kidapawan spent ₱1.3M.
“This is our way to support our local farmers (fruit and vegetable) in the city. Instead of letting them display their products in other municipalities or places, the local government here decided to buy their products to be part of the Timpupo activity.”
Festival of art
Trying to bring back the joy of the festival after [postponing] it for a few years because of the pandemic, the city government invited barangays and business establishments to join the fruit float parade. Out of the 20 entries, the city government declared the three top winners where District 2 and 8 bagged the first prize plus ₱153,333 cash, while Saniel Cruz National High School got the second prize with ₱128,333 and third place went to Barangay Linangkob with cash prize of ₱103,333.
This year’s long-awaited Timpupo Festival was bigger and brighter than before, owing to being postponed because of the pandemic.
Boosting local economy
For Virginia Dayaday, the president of the Farmers’ Federation in Kidapawan City, the celebration not only encouraged tourists to visit and experience the festival but also inspired more local farmers to produce more products like fruits.
Virginia Dayaday, the president of the Kidapawan Farmer’s Federation showing off some of the fruits produced by the locals in the metro.
Dayaday said in Bisaya that they are thankful to the support of the city government through its agriculture office for giving them the chance to display and sell their fruit produce. “This initiative inspires our farmers from our 38- member barangay to deliver their products straight here. The federation buys their delivered fruits like rambutan, lanzones, marang, and durian in cash once delivered in our fruit stand.”
While for Ronel Jay Parojinog, a 32-year old fruit vendor, the weeklong Timpupo festival helped their sector and other farmers in the city gain additional profit during the event. “Through this annual activity, we are able to gain a gross income of almost ₱200,000 after the culmination of Timpupo festival.
Mr. Ronel Jay Parojinog, 32 years old and one of the fruit vendors who benefitted the fruit stalls recently installed by the City Government of Kidapawan through its City Agriculture Office. “These fruit stalls helped us a lot to showcase our local produce in the city. Timely that this is launched during the Timpupo Festival, the weeklong celebration, where hundreds of people from other neighboring areas visit Kidapawan City.
During the opening of the Timpupo fest last August 12, City agriculturist Aton said that Kidapawan also opened to the public 11 fruit stalls to cater local fruit farmers known as Kidapawan Farmers’ Fruit Stand.
To sustain the farmers’ production, Aton also said that their office continually supports local organizations to market their products through provision of fruit farmer stalls and linking them to market opportunities not only within the city but as far as Metro Manila. “For our backyard fruit farmers, we also encourage them to deliver their products to our trading post and the city will purchase their produce at a competitive price.”
Based on the commodity data profile of Kidapawan City, as of December 2022, among the top fruits produced are mangosteen with 4,936.32 metric tons as total volume of production or eight tons average yield per hectare, followed by durian with 2,404.80 metric tons as total volume of production or 9 tons of average yield per hectare. Among other fruits thriving in the city based on its total number of production are rambutan [821.28 metric tons], marang [231.40 metric tons], lanzones [171.89 metric tons], and dragon fruit [117 metric tons].
The floats showcased Kidapawan City’s bountiful fruit harvest.
Aton underscores that Kidapawan City’s Timpupo this year is also the city’s 76 th Foundation Anniversary that highlights the abundance of fruits and vegetables, adding that it still resembles the ‘City of Fruits and Highland Springs’ in this part of Cotabato Province in Mindanao.
Photos courtesy of Rex Rubio