Latin American costumes wow “Empanada” revelers

BATAC CITY, July 12 – – Event performers garbed in Latin American costumes have impressed throng of spectators during the street dancing presentation of the recently-concluded 2013 Empanada Festival in this city.

Different clothing designs were presented by nine clusters created from 43 Batac villages. Cluster 1 came in designs from Puerto Rico; cluster 2 – Brazil; cluster 3 – Panama; cluster 4 – Spain; cluster 6 – Portugal; cluster 7 – Dominican Republic; cluster 8 – Paraguay; and cluster 9 – Mexico.

Batac City Mayor Jeffrey Jubal C. Nalupta said the Latin-inspired outfit presentation was a tribute to the Hispanic origin of this city’s famous “empanada” delicacy.

“We do not claim that empanada food delicacy originated in Batac City. But we discovered that its origin was Latin American which has historical ties with Spain. That was the reason for the theme,” he said.

“The empanada may have originated somewhere in Spanish–speaking countries and was brought home by a Batacqueno who pioneered the Batac empanada-making business in the 1950s,” he added.

The festival, now on its sixth year, was held last June 23 which coincided with Batac’s sixth charter day anniversary.

The former town of Batac was converted into a component city of Ilocos Norte by virtue of Republic Act 9407 through an overwhelming ratification by residents in a plebiscite held on June 23, 2007.

According to Nalupta, they adopted empanada as the title of their festival because it is the most prominent food delicacy produced by the city.

“Actually, empanada is our one-town–one- product (OTOP). The festival promotes and fortifies the position of Batac City as the source of best nutritious and delicious empanada in Region 1 and most probably in the entire country,” he noted.

Batac empanada is a deep–fried crunchy snack filled with grated papaya, mongo, longganisa (native meat sausage) and egg.

“The making of the Batac empanada is a manifestation of Ilocano traits of being industrious, resourceful, creative, simple and frugal,” Nalupta said.

He added that Batac empanada has enhanced the local tourism industry because a tourist’s visit is not complete without a taste of the native snack. (Freddie G. Lazaro)