By Niño Luces
MASBATE CITY – Participants from all the municipalities of Masbate, as well as this city, gathered while clad in cowboy or cowgirl costume at the Rodeo Masbateño Grandstand as the weeklong celebration of Rodeo Masbateño Festival kicked off on Tuesday.
To the tune of cowboy music, participants danced while being cheered by thousands of spectators, visitors, and tourists seeking protection from the hot Tuesday morning sun under the shade of the trees and grandstand.
Judge Manuel Sese, founder of Rodeo Masbateño said that since the festivity was revived in 2013, there has been a noticeable improvement, not only in promoting the cattle industry but in boosting tourism in the province.
"When we revived Rodeo Masbateño in 2013, our theme was unity and diversity. From the very start, Rodeo was mainly a project of provincial government. But you know how divisive politics is. Kahit mahusay kang gobernador, may kalaban, so it failed. Rodeo Masbateño was organized mainly to promote our cattle industry, but as years went by, we realize that Rodeo Masbateño started to help our tourism industry," he said.
According to Sese, one good example that the Rodeo Masbateño Festival has helped the economy through tourism was the progress seen on Jesse M. Robredo Boulevard where only a few restaurants could be seen before. But now, it is lined with restaurants and hotels put up by local businessmen and foreign investors.
"Yung aming Jesse M. Robredo Boulevard dati lima lang resraurants dyan. Ngayon parang kabuteng nagsulputan na sila," Sese said.
The opening was graced by former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) and senatorial candidate Christopher Laurence "Bong" Go while different cattle events were held such as bull riding.