Lanao del Norte

Lanao del Norte town’s famous crabs fest back after 3 years

Merlyn Manos

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Lanao del Norte town’s famous crabs fest back after 3 years

CELEBRATE. A performer in colorful costume holds a woven bamboo tray of crabs during the annual Alimango Festival parade in Lala, Lanao del Norte, on March 23.

Merlyn Manos / Rappler

The Alimango Festival is not just a celebration of Lala town's famous crabs, but also a way for the local community to come together and showcase their culture and traditions

LALA, Lanao del Norte – The coastal municipality of Lala in Lanao del Norte marked its 22nd Alimango Festival and 74th town charter day, bringing the local community together in a colorful and lively celebration. 

After about three years of being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, residents of Lala were overjoyed to see the resumption of their traditional festival, which ran for a week and concluded on Friday, March 24.

Festival enthusiasts were mesmerized by the colorful costumes, props, and “crab dance” moves during the street dancing competition. 

The festival’s highlight was the showcase of the town’s famous crabs, which were sold at much lower prices – from just P250 to P400 per kilogram – by local cooperatives and associations.

COLORFUL. Performers in colorful costumes and woven bamboo trays of crabs dance during the Alimango Festival parade in Lala, Lanao del Norte, on March 23. – Merlyn Manos / Rappler

This year, there was no “crab mountain” which Lala has been known to do each year.

The traditional “crab mountain” – actually, thousands of crabs piled up to form a tower – has been a staple attraction of the festival in previous years.

Lala Mayor Angel “Tata” Yap said they scrapped that this year to save on costs, and given that crab production has been affected by recent rains and floods in the province.

As the COVID-19 situation in the country continues to improve, the resumption of traditional festivals like the Alimango Festival shows the resilience of Filipinos and their ability to find joy in the face of adversity, said Yap.

COOL DOWN. A man sits down under a shade amid the heat in a booth set up during the Alimango Festival parade in Lala, Lanao del Norte, on March 23. – Merlyn Manos / Rappler

For the people of Lala like Sonia Mae Casquejo, one of the festival street performers, the return of the Alimango Festival was a welcome respite from the challenges of the pandemic. 

She said the Alimango Festival was not just a celebration of Lala’s famous crabs, but also a way for the local community to come together and showcase their culture and traditions. 

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Casquejo said, the town was able to successfully hold its annual festival and provide a much-needed source of joy and unity for its residents at this time. – Rappler.com

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