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Written by RJ. Tatlonghari

In order to boost Cavinti’s tourism and to put into reality the country’s tourism campaign slogan “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” and as part of Mayor Milbert Oliveros integrated tourism master plan for the town of Cavinti, five (5) major festivals are being celebrated annually: Cavinti Watersports Fest; Mayflower Festival; Sambalilo Festival; Harvest Festival; and Cavinti Water Falls and Shooting the Rapids Fest. The creations of these festivals are basically due to season, abundance of resources, tradition and most importantly as thanksgiving.

Cavinti Watersports Fest

Cavinti Watersports Fest was initiated of incumbent Local Chief Executive, Honorable Milbert de Leon Oliveros which is celebrated every February. The first-ever and very successful Cavinti Watersports Fest was launched on 7-9 February 2014 in order to boost Cavinti’s tourism in terms of fresh water-based adventure and festivity. The event conducted the following activities: Bass Fishing Competition, Dragon Boat Racing, Canoe Racing, Kayak Racing, Open Water Swimming Competition, Kite Boarding Exhibition, Carabao Swim Racing, Underwater Fish Hunting, Munting Dampa sa Lawa and Trade Fair. This event is one of a kind as the DOT R4 said this is the first-ever watersports fest in the region and can be featured as the new “product” of the Philippine Tourism.

Mayflower Festival

All over the country, the month May has been traditionally associated with the pious tradition of Flores de Mayo, an age-old catholic custom of offering flowers before the image of the Mother of God, praying the rosary and holding a procession in her honor. This tradition, since the early residents of Cavinti is considered grand occasion and hermanos and hermanas are the one leading the celebration. These hermanos and hermanas are annually chosen for thanks giving, and to share their wealth and blessings to the community of Cavinti. This is a month-long celebration of which Santacruzan is the main event: a pageant on the last day of Flores de Mayo, held in honour of Helena (known as Reyna Elena) and Constantine finding the True Cross in Jerusalem.

Sambalilo Festival

Creation of Sambalilo Festival was initiated by the Association of Barangay Captains (ABC) and Magdapio Club in order to boost Cavinti’s tourism in 2003. The celebration was held in conjunction with Mayflower Festival, on May 16-25, 2003, targeting vacationers, local and foreign tourist since the influx of visitors is recorded on April and May. However, due to unknown reason, the said Festival was never been celebrated again until 2013 under the new administration thru Hon. Mayor Milbert de Leon Oliveros which they believed should be celebrated during the foundation day of Cavinti and Mayflower Festival will be celebrated separately. The new administration also believed that having two major festivals will surely boost the tourism industry. Consequently, the second celebration of the famous Sambalilo Festival was held on August 3-6, 2013 during Mayor Milbert Oliveros first term. Sambalilo Festival was launched during Cavinti’s Foundation day to boast the municipality’s tourism industry.

The term “Sambalilo” originated from the Spanish word “sombrero,” which means hat. It was used by people of Cavinti to protect them from rain and sun during work in the farm since the local weather in the municipality is unpredictable.

However, since sambalilo making become income generating and giant pandan (Pandanus utilissimus ) is indigenous and abundant in the municipality (in fact some pandan used by Municipality of Luisiana came from Cavinti), Sambalilo Festival was chosen by the municipality to promote the said craft and other pandan products. Further, the unique way on how it was crafted, can be used to boast the interest of potential tourists. Now, the Sambalilo Festival became the venue to show the different talent and skills of all ages of Cavintinians and venue to show the different style and quality of sambalilo and unique way how it was crafted. It also includes a sectoral parade and house decoration showing beautiful hats and colorful costumes made of pandan.

Cavinti Harvest Festival

The Cavinti Harvest Festival is among the most important events in the town of Cavinti that was also initiated by the incumbent Mayor Milbert L. Oliveros with the help of Pangkat Kabukiran and all barangay Captains of Cavinti in order to boost the agricultural sector and at the same time the tourism industry of Cavinti in the last quarter of the year.

This festival will now be an annual celebration that occurs around the time of peak harvest season of Cavinti which is commonly arounf the month of first week of October. Unlike with other typical “harvest festival” this festival will not only celebrate thanksgiving but to encourage people to plant more agricultural crops using organic and to sustain the food requirements in the table everyday to eliminate poverty in Cavinti. Further, the goal of this festival is to have “agricultural product identity” of each barangay that soon will be recognized not only in the province of Laguna but also in other parts of the country. 

The festival also feature feasting, both family and public, with foods that are drawn from crops that come to maturity around the time of the festival. Ample food and freedom from the necessity to work in the fields are two central features of harvest festivals: eating, merriment, contests, music are common activities in this events. The said event will also serve as a venue where different agricultural products are being promoted and sold. 

Cavinti Water Falls and Shooting the Rapids Fest

As part of Mayor Milbert De Leon Oliveros integrated tourism plan for the town of Cavinti Laguna, Cavinti will create another event. This one day event is a tribute to all Cavintinians who worked hard even without hazard pay and recognition to the world-famous Cavinti Falls as one of the major income generating tourist spot in Laguna. It will be called, the first-ever "Cavinti Falls and Shooting the Rapids Fest". This will be put into reality once the new boating station of Cavinti in Barangay Anglas has been established.

This one day event fest will consist of shooting the rapids race and obstacles course going to the world-famous water falls. This will educate people on the works of people behind the maintenance of shooting the rapids and water falls. 

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