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Friday, June 14, 2024

Bicol goes loco

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Massive festival fuels tourism dreams, aiming for annual return

All roads led to Albay from May 3 to 5 as fans from all over the Philippines arrived in droves to witness and, in many cases, participate in The Bicol Loco Festival.

A diverse crowd of over 500,000 attendees from the Bicol Region and beyond came to enjoy everything the three-day event offered – hot-air balloons, aerobatics, skydiving events, drone shows, concerts, and raffles.

Bamboo’s performance had the crowd singing along to his popular hits

The festive atmosphere prompted Bicol Loco organizers to seriously consider making the festival an annual event. The ultimate dream is to extend beyond once a year and be year-round, similar to the hot-air balloon experience in Cappadocia, Turkey, which attracts tourists worldwide.

An exhilarating blend of adventure and music, The Bicol Loco Festival is filled with a plethora of memorable events that it wasn’t easy to recall a single moment since the whole festival is designed to have general mass appeal and make everything a highlight.

Sarah Geronimo delights fans with her impressive vocals as she graced the Bicol Loco Festival stage

The hot-air balloons framed against the magnificent Mayon Volcano sparked adventure and childlike wonder. The top performances of Sarah Geronimo, Bamboo, Jericho Rosales, and Ely Buendia electrified the crowd and transformed the concerts into mass sing-alongs. 

As the event host, Robi Domingo was also well-received by the appreciative audience.

During the first concert night, the polished performances as individuals and as a duet brought the house down. Apl.de.ap’s surprise appearance was also a welcome treat. Apl’s impromptu jamming with Bamboo and Sarah G. had the crowd rapping along “Filipino, Filipino.” The scene was like a reunion of The Voice judges.

From left: Former ‘The Voice Kids Philippines’ coaches Bamboo, Apl.de.ap, and Sarah Geronimo
had a mini reunion onstage

And then there’s Bicol native Jericho Rosales, who brought pride among Bicolanos. When he declared his unabashed love for the region and its people due to his Bicolano roots, the crowd went wild.

Jericho headlined the second night along with Ely Buendia, evoking waves of nostalgia, with the audience enthusiastically singing along to his popular hits.

The festival’s raffle also brought tears to many eyes, especially the heart-rending stories of four grand prize winners who each won a house and lot unit worth P1.5 million.

Did The Bicol Loco Festival succeed in promoting the Bicol province, its tourism, and its culture? The answer is a resounding yes! The tremendous response undoubtedly placed the region on the global tourism map.

For festival organizers, Bicol Loco achieved more than simply promoting a destination; it showcased the region’s natural beauty, vibrant local communities, and rich culture and history.

The social media exposure served as a virtual gateway for potential visitors, immersing them in Bicol’s beauty and promising travel experiences.

In his message to fellow Bicolanos, Ako Bicol party-list Representative Zaldy Co said the enthusiasm of attendees turned the inaugural Bicol Loco festival into a remarkable celebration of unity for everyone in the entire Bicol region.

“Remember that Bicol Loco is also an opportunity to create jobs and livelihood among our people. Let’s approach the future with the spirit of adventure that the festival evokes – bright and colorful, festive and musical,” he concluded.

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