Abaca woven costumes were worn by participants in the recent virtual and live festival.

THE province of Catanduanes, the country's largest producer of abaca fiber or Manila hemp, recently held the annual Abaca Festival.

The Abaca Festival showcased the province's main product, which has been a prime commodity since the Spanish-era galleon trade.

The province has more than 36,744 hectares of abaca plantation that produced 18,003 metric tons last year, accounting for almost a third of the total output of the Philippines.

Key events in the five-day fest which was a hybrid of physical and online activities were a trade fair, agricultural forum, competitions on indigenous poem reading, arch and façade designs, and the Festival Queen Competition.

Municipal contingents in abaca-inspired costumes executing street dances in the Virtual Dance Showdown--one of the event highlights. Now on its fifth year, the festival promotes Catanduanes as "The Happy Island" because of its diverse and unspoiled natural attractions.