Banate is a coastal town in the northern part of the province of Iloilo, Region VI Western Visayas, Philippines. It is primarily a fishing and agricultural municipality, which has a population of 27,263 inhabitants in 5,279 households. Banate is well known for Kasag (crabs), ginamos, and the fresh fish, which local entrepreneurs take to and sell in the capital of the province, in many of the non-coastal towns, and even in Manila. The town has a port for boats that transport passengers and local products, like rice, mangoes, and sugarcane to the island of Negros.
Banate has a land area of 118.86 km². It is a beautiful coastal town which is about as big as Iloilo City and is 50 kilometers away from the Capital of the Province of Iloilo. The town has large areas planted with rice, sugarcane, vegetables, beans, coconut and bananas. Banate is composed of 18 barangays, seven of which are along the shorelines and the rest are in the uplands.
The 1995 National Census on Population and Housing shows that Banate has a total population of 24,976 excluding those residing in Barangay Fuentes (a contested Barangay between Banate and Anilao). However, if Barangay Fuentes is included, the total population would be 25,597. Banate has average annual population growth rate of 1.21% based on the population change within the years 1990–1995.
Being a very versatile town with livelihood income both coming from the sea and the farmlands, the Municipality of Banate has generated actual income from calendar year 1995 to calendar year 1999 reaching up to P82, 167,999.30. The increase of the town's income was mainly due to the increase in revenue allotment, tax, and operating revenue of the municipality. It could be observed that Banate is increasingly growing in commerce and industry.
The 1995 Census of Population and Housing (which includes Barangay Fuentes) recorded a total of 4,761 households with an average household size of 6 person per household for the urban area, and 5 persons per household for the rural area. The urban area, comprising Poblacion, Barangay Alacaygan, Barangay Bularan, Barangay Carmelo, Barangay Talokgangan and Barangay Zona Sur, has a total household of 1653. The 12 rural barangays have a total of 2,908 households with Barangay San Salvador having the highest number households (480). The 12 barangays belonging to the rural area has a population of 15,772 or about 62% of the total population of Banate. Of the 12 barangays, Barangay San Salvador has the highest population (2,380 or 9.31%, while Barangay Fuentes, (a disputed barangay between the Municipality of Banate and the Municipality of Anilao) has the least population of only 621 persons or 4% of the rural population, since some residents have considered themselves residents of Anilao.
Banate Church (St. John the Baptist )
Banate Church, St. John the Baptist, a Catholic Church, can be found in the town of Banate. It was built in the late 19 century.
Banate-Negros Occidental Bridge
The most recent and promising note for the future economic growth of Banate is the projected Banate-Negros Occidental Bridge. In the midst of the year 2006 (July 30, 2006, Governors from 16 provinces of the Visayas met at the Provincial Capitol of Negros Occidental in Bacolod City to discuss the construction of bridges linking Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Leyte and Panay. They call these bridges the Trans-Visayas Friendship Bridges. Among these bridges would be the Banate-Negros Occidental Bridge, which would link the Island of Negroes to the Island of Panay. Located at the spot nearest to Negros, Banate is the most logical and ideal place for the construction of the connecting bridge between the two islands of the Visayas.
San Juan Fiesta
During the 24th of June, every year, the town celebrates the feast of St. John the Baptist. The "Diana," a marching band, wakes the townsfolk early in the morning so as to signigy also that it is the fiesta. Masses are held, in both Roman Catholic and Aglipayan Churches after which, devotees’ carry in procession a decorated carroza containing the statue of the Patron saint through the main streets of the town. The townspeople cook typical delicious dishes for the guests to eat and, later in the afternoon, children as well as teenagers go to the plaza to enjoy the fun at the "peryahan." During the evening, a “search” for Miss Banate is held in the municipal covered gymnasium. Hundreds of crowds pack up the gym just to cheer and clap for their bets.
Semana Santa Celebration
Banate has, for centuries, also observed the Holy Week celebration in the traditional Catholic custom. The town boasts of antique ivory religious images, which are only seen displayed during the Easter Triduum celebrations and processions. Both the Roman Catholic and the Aglipayan Communities in this town have preserved the Western and Catholic way of making the memory of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alive through the heritage received from the Spaniards, who evangelized the town for centuries. The meditation on the seven last words of Jesus and the re-enactment of his last moments on Calvary attract devotees from neighboring towns on Good Fridays.
Banate is known in the Province of Iloilo for its "lab-as" or savory fresh fruits of the sea. Sometime during the second week of December until the first week of January, the residents celebrate the "Kasag Festival". It is a celebration of thanksgiving for one of the many blessings that the town is endowed with- "Kasag" (crabs). For weeks, the residents hold a food festival every evening at the town's plaza, which features the different ways of how the Banatenhons cook crabs, fresh fish and other bounties from Banate Bay.
For over 17 years in the making, Kasag festival came as an offshoot of the Annual Street Dancing Competition as the highlight of the Annual Town Fiesta, and the promotion of the town's famed product, the Blue Crabs, through as the Municipality’s One Town One Product (OTOP) project.
Previous Street Dancing Competitions were held every 24th day of June, as one of the highlights of the final day of the Annual Town Fiesta honoring and thanking God through the intercession of St. John the Baptist for the fruitful year spent. However, the activities meant at integrating Kasag Festival with the Feast of St. John the Baptist proved to be such a tedious endeavor for Banatenhons, requiring much of their time and effort. Most often, this results to distractions, if not deviations, from the original essence and spirit of the religious fiesta which is about the devotion to St. John the Baptist and thanksgiving to the Almighty God. With the implementation of the DTI’s One Town One Product (OTOP), Banate identified Kasag (Blue Crab) as the prevalent and flourishing fishery based industry thus making it Banate’s OTOP. Promoting the new product and incorporating the product with the festival was conceptualized by the people in charge of OTOP. With positive response from the Local Chief Executive, all systems go for the First Kasag Festival Celebration; with “young blood” from the newly elected public officials and the desire to promote Banate’s One Town One Product as well as Banate’s Tourism Development the First Kasag Festival came into celebration on December 2007.
Food Courts of various mouth-watering and native delicacies were there to give justice to the ever-craving and discriminating taste of Ilonggos. A nightly Singing contest to entertain and showcase the singing prowess of Banatenhons was staged. Daily entertaining activities like Laro ng Lahi (old Filipino games), Basketball Tournament and search for Mutya sang Kasag were organized topped by the eagerly anticipated all new Street Dancing Competition based on the idea of Kasag’s preservation for future generation and Kasag’s nature and thanksgiving to the bountiful season of fishing.
Participation in Other Festivals
Selected Kasag performers regularly compete in other festivals. Banate is represented by Tribu Kasag in the Kasadyahan portion of the Dinagyang Festival every January in Iloilo City. The Kasag festival also competes in the Aliwan Fiesta held every April in Metro Manila. Both Tribu Kasag and the Kasag Festival have won several awards, including the Kasadyahan championship trophy in 2009 and 2010, and the second runner-up trophy at the Aliwan Fiesta in 2010.
Banate Municipal Building
Restaurants & resorts
- Kites Place
- Tabing Dagat
- Tito Pap's Food Place
- Villa Francisca
List of accommodations in Iloilo City
- Amigo Terrace Hotel - Cor. Iznart-Delgado st., Iloilo City
- Century 21 Hotel - Quezon st., Iloilo City
- Days Hotel - 4/F Atrium Bldg., Gen. Luna st., Iloilo City
- Eon Centennial Plaza Hotel - Jalandoni st., Iloilo City
- Four Season Hotel - Corner Fuentes-Delgado st., Iloilo City
- Hotel Del Rio - M.H. del Pilar st., Molo, Iloilo City
- Iloilo Grand Hotel - Iznart st., Iloilo City
- La Fiesta Hotel - M.H. Del Pilar st., Molo, Iloilo City
- Sarabia Manor Hotel - 101 Gen. Luna st., Iloilo City
- The Grand Dame Hotel - Cor., Rizal-Huervana st., Lapaz, Iloilo City
How to get there
Iloilo Province is located in the Western Visayas region, and can be reached by plane, bus, ferry or roro (roll-on-roll-off) from Manila.
There are direct flights to Iloilo Intenational Airport and take around 50 minutes from Manila. Once there, one can ride a shuttle van or taxi going to Iloilo City.
List of airlines that have daily trips to Manila to Iloilo:
- Cebu Pacific
- Air Philippines
- Philippine Airlines
- Zest Air
From Manila Ports, the travel time going to Iloilo Domestic Port, located along General Hughes St., is about 20 hours.
There are buses from Manila that have trips to Iloilo City. The bus uses the roro (roll-on-roll-off) services going to Iloilo. The bus terminals in Cubao and Pasay have buses with trips going to Iloilo.
When touring the province, taxis and jeepneys are available as a mode of transportation around the province.