One Beat, One Dance for Kalamay Festival

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

SAN ENRIQUE, Iloilo is celebrating Kalamay Festival on July 8-14, 2018.

The festival is a celebration of the town’s sugarcane farming and the production of raw sugar as well as the impact of the sugar industry to the town for almost 40 years.

The mingling elements of local religious, economic, and social elements in San Enrique through the Kalamay Festival presents a microcosmic view of community-based values. The importance of cane farming and sugar production is the underlying focus of the festival for this agricultural town, which has a population of 33,911 (2015 Census on Population).

The agricultural town has a land area of 8,772 hectares; 7,572 hectares of which is devoted to agriculture.

Sugarcane is mainly its agricultural produce. It is the industrial crop of many towns, especially in the 4th congressional district of the province. The canes are supplied to sugar mills, specifically those in Passi City, Barotac Nuevo, and in San Enrique.

The Passi Sugar Central Inc. in San Enrique, which has enhanced the financial status of the town, was founded in April 1967. The year after, a mill site covering 28 hectares in Barangay Ulang Juan was constructed and was finished in 1970.

It employed around 450 workers. It was said that in 1983-84, the Sugar Central posted the highest volume of production among six sugar mills located in Panay. The cost of the mill was US$19.37 million.

San Enrique, a town in the 4th Congressional District of the province, became independent from Passi City on July 12, 1957 through Executive Order No. 259 signed by former President Carlos P. Garcia.

The scenic beauty of San Enrique is surrounded by Mounts Cañapasan, Bayoso, Gepiz, Cararapan, Cabas-an and Puti-an. It is a potential ecotourism site known for its caves located at Barangay Rumagayray and runs contiguously to Bulabog-Putian National Park in the boundary of Dingle and San Enrique.

The town is located 54 kilometers north of Iloilo City via the Passi City route.

Comprised of 28 barangays, it is bounded in the north by Passi City; in the south by Dingle; in the east by Banate and Barotac Viejo and; in the west by Duenas.

For more information, please contact Dr. Jose Patubo, Municipal Culture, History, Arts and Tourism Office head at (033) 3232300 or email

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