Get ready to claw your way to the ultimate celebration of mud crabs and culture at the Alimango Festival in Lala, Lanao del Norte. Every March, this coastal town comes alive with crab-themed floats, street dancers in colorful costumes, and yummy crab dishes.
The festival also features the rich culture and tradition of Lala. From crab races to cook-offs, this must-see festival has something for everyone.
In this post, we’ll explore the event and why it has become a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.
What Is Alimango Festival?
The Alimango Festival is an annual celebration in Lala, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. It boasts the abundant crab industry of the town, particularly the mud crabs or alimango in Filipino.
The festival features exciting activities, such as a street dance competition, grand parade, cooking contest, and trade fair. One of the festival’s highlights is the crab race, where participants bet on which crab crosses the finish line fastest.
But the Alimango Festival in Lala is not just a celebration of the town’s main industry. It also promotes tourism and showcases the rich culture of Lala.
Usually held on March 22, the main events occur (crab/ocean-themed parade and grand street dancing) on the same day. However, the schedule may vary yearly. So if you want to visit Lala, contact the local tourism office for the exact date.
Of course, you can’t fully experience any Philippine festival without food. During the Alimango Festival, visitors can sample tons of local delicacies made from mud crabs, such as crab adobo, crab soup, and crab cakes.
Aside from the festival, you can also explore other attractions in Lala. These include the Lala Nature Park, which boasts a butterfly garden and a mini-zoo. You can then see the Lala Mangrove Forest, a great place for birdwatching and kayaking. Lastly, you can check out Bubong Falls, a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.
Alimango Festival History
The Alimango Festival started in 2002 as part of the town’s efforts to promote its crab industry. At the time, Lala was one of the country’s top producers of mud crabs.
However, the town’s crab farmers faced many challenges, including low prices and a lack of market access. As a result, the event aimed to raise awareness about the town’s crab industry to help boost the local economy.
The first Alimango Festival involved a crab-catching contest and a small parade. However, it quickly became popular among locals and attracted visitors from other towns. Eventually, the tourism board added more activities, such as a street dance competition, a cooking contest, and a trade fair.
Additionally, the crab race has become a popular attraction. Participants from all over the Philippines come to Lala to compete. On top of that, the event features a grand parade displaying the town’s traditions and crab industry.
Aside from that, the Alimango Festival in Lala, Lanao del Norte has raised awareness about preserving the town’s natural resources. The festival involves mangrove planting and clean-up drives to protect the town’s coastal ecosystem.
Alimango Festival Activities
Here are some of the activities you can expect to see at the Alimango Festival in Lala, Lanao del Norte:
Street Dance Competition
Local dance groups compete in a lively street dance competition. During this event, the participants showcase their creativity and dance skills. They also wear colorful costumes and use props that pay homage to crabs and the ocean.
The festival’s grand parade boasts vibrant crab- and ocean-themed floats accompanied by performers. The parade typically starts at the town’s plaza and ends at the festival grounds.
During the crab race, participants bet on their chosen crabs. The fastest crab then wins. Interestingly, the crabs compete on a specially designed track, which makes it more fun to watch.
Crab Catching Contest
During the contest, participants try to catch as many crabs as possible within a set time limit. The event often takes place at the beach or the town’s rivers.
The cooking contest features local chefs who create their best dishes using mud crabs as the main ingredient. Then, the judges evaluate the dishes based on taste, presentation, and creativity.
The festival also boasts a trade fair where local businesses and entrepreneurs sell their products and services. You can find lots of stuff here, from handicrafts and souvenirs to local delicacies made from mud crabs.
Participants plant mangroves in the town’s coastal areas to help protect the ecosystem and promote sustainable crab farming practices.
Alimango Festival Place of Origin
The Alimango Festival originated in Lala, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. Lala is one of the Philippines’ top producers of mud crabs. The town started the festival in 2002 to promote the town’s crab industry and boost the local economy.
The town’s crab industry revolves around the town’s rivers, where mud crabs thrive in the mangrove forests. The town’s crab farmers then harvest the crabs, sell them in local markets, or export them to other countries.
In addition, the Alimango Festival serves as a testament to the town’s rich natural resources and the crab farmers’ dedication.
Other Versions in the Country
While the Alimango Festival is the main crab event in the Philippines, other versions exist.
Alimango Festival in Calauag, Quezon
The Alimango Festival, also known as the Katang Festival or Crab Festival, takes place in Calauag, Quezon every May 25. This week-long event involves various locals and tourists,
Known as the crab and seaweed capital of Quezon, Calauag first held the Crab Festival in 2005.
Its other name, Katang Festival, came from the local term for crab― katang. It celebrates the abundant mud crabs in the area, represented by their mascot, the giant mud crab called Higanteng Alimango.
Mud crab farming serves as the primary source of livelihood in Calauag. The crabs also became famous for their distinct flavor, thanks to the bodies of water there.
The festival offers a wide range of activities, such as a crab race and a contest for the biggest and heaviest crab. Participants also wear crab-themed costumes for the street dancing competition.
Other festival highlights include a fireworks display, an agri-aqua trade, a beauty pageant called Binibining Calauag, and a boat race called Bangkarerahan.
Alimango Festival in Samar
The Alimango Festival in Samar gets held in Santa Margarita.
The festival honors the alimango (also known as giant mud crabs or mangrove crabs), the primary source of livelihood for the town. With more than 2,000 hectares of crab farms that yield up to 3,000 crabs each month, the town values its prized crustacean.
Aside from being a thanksgiving celebration, the festival also showcases the town’s local crab industry. It attracts potential buyers and consumers to appreciate the export-quality crabs produced in the area.
The event also features a grand street dance competition, one of the festival’s main highlights. During the performance, locals don full crab suits that mimic pinching claws. They also do a courtship dance between a female mud crab and a male one.
The performance also depicts how farmers catch crabs from the fishponds and mangrove areas using woven cage traps called bobo and bentol. Fast-paced rhythmic music and loud drums accompany this performance.
The day starts with a thanksgiving mass and an opening program attended by officials. Then, a community lunch occurs, where locals and guests gather around a table loaded with 500 kilos of freshly cooked mud crabs.
Delicacies in Lanao del Norte
Enjoy Lanao del Norte’s prized delicacies during the event. Here are the province’s must-try delicacies:
Locals make this spicy condiment by mixing chopped scallions, ginger, chili, and other spices. It adds flavor to grilled or fried meat and seafood. You can easily find the Palapa in local markets and households in Lanao del Norte. You can even buy a bottle and take it home.
Locals make Kinilaw by marinating fresh fish or seafood in vinegar and lime juice. They then mix it with onions, chili, and other ingredients. Additionally, locals serve it as an appetizer, making it a popular dish in many seafood restaurants in Lanao del Norte.
Cooks make Inolokan by cooking beef or chicken in coconut milk, ginger, and other spices. They then mix it with grated cassava and wrap it in banana leaves. Lastly, they steam the dish until cooked and serve it with a spicy sauce.
4. Binaki nga Kadayawan
This sweet delicacy is made from grated cassava, coconut milk, and sugar. Cooks wrap it in banana leaves and steam it until cooked. They then top it with sweet syrup made from coconut milk and brown sugar.
Locals make Moron by mixing glutinous rice, coconut milk, and chocolate. They shape it into logs or balls. Next, they wrap it in banana leaves. Moron is a popular dessert during festivals and special occasions in Lanao del Norte.
This Filipino dessert serves as a crunchy snack made from glutinous rice flour, sugar, and grated coconut. Cooks form the mixture into small balls. They then fry them until crispy. Lastly, cooks coat the balls in sugar and serve them.
A soup made by boiling pork and beef bones, onions, ginger, and other spices, locals often serve Sinalakan with rice. For a healthier twist, they serve it with vegetables.
Locals make Pianggang by marinating chicken or beef in coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, and other spices. They then wrap the chicken in banana leaves. Next, they grill it on an open flame.
This steamed cake features grated corn, coconut milk, and sugar. The cooks steam it in small banana leaf containers. You can often find Binaki in local markets. Many street vendors also sell this popular dessert.
10. Fried Kiping
People love Fried Kiping, a crunchy, crispy snack made from thinly sliced cassava and sugar. Cooks deep fry the cassava slices until crispy. Next, they coat them in sugar.
Frequently Asked Questions
Alimango Festival is celebrated to honor the abundance of alimango (giant mud crabs or mangrove crabs)― the town’s main industry and livelihood. It also showcases the town’s rich culture and raises awareness for sustainable crab farming practices.
Alimango Festival is celebrated in Lala, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. It’s a colorful and fascinating celebration held on March 22 every year. Other towns in the Philippines also celebrate the Alimango Festival, including Santa Margarita, Samar and Calauag, Quezon.
The Alimango Festival in Calauag, Quezon celebrates the town’s mud crab abundance. Locals and tourists celebrate it on May 25 each year. The event usually lasts for a week and includes activities such as a street dance, crab race, and cooking contests.
The Crab Festival in the Philippines started in 2002 in Lala, Lanao del Norte, Philippines. The town started it to help boost the local economy and promote its crab industry. Over time, the event also promoted sustainable crab farming.
The Alimango Sugpo Festival is an annual celebration in Orani, Bataan, Philippines. The festival celebrates the town’s abundant harvest of freshwater prawns (sugpo) and crabs (alimango). The festival usually takes place in March and lasts for several days. The event features street dance competitions, beauty pageants, and a grand parade featuring vibrant costumes and beautiful floats.
Celebrating the prized mud crabs, the Alimango Festival in Lanao del Norte lets you enjoy the mouth-watering delicacies of the region. It also lets you witness vibrant cultural presentations and enjoy eco-friendly activities.
With its aim to promote sustainability and environmental conservation, the Alimango Festival also honors the community’s commitment to preserving the environment. So, don’t miss this unforgettable festival and check out Lala for a unique experience now!
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