ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – After a 10-year hiatus, the Talaba Grill Festival made a triumphant return to Zamboanga Sibugay, complete with a brand new addition: the province’s first-ever Lechon Festival.
The twin festivals, which took place on Sunday, February 26, and delighted both locals and tourists alike, was a celebration of the province’s abundant supply of talaba, or oysters, which play a significant role in the region’s culture and economy.
This year’s event featured a 500-meter-long grill set up around the provincial capitol grounds in Ipil, the capital town, where more than 20 tons of oysters were distributed to festival-goers. It was tamer compared to past setups that reached 2.5 kilometers.
For fisherman and 2021 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Roberto “Ka Dodoy” Ballon, the return of the Talaba Grill Festival was a much-needed development, especially for fishing communities that are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects.
“We are grateful for the return of this festival because we can once again highlight the efforts of our fishermen while giving them additional income,” Ballon said.
The festival was part of a two-week-long celebration of the province’s 22nd founding anniversary, which coincided with the birth anniversary of its founding father, George Hofer, when he was still the governor.
This year’s festival was even more special as it featured the province’s first-ever Lechon Festival, with organizers serving over 100 crispy roast pigs from different parts of the province to everyone in attendance.
The addition of the Lechon Festival made the event even more exciting, showcasing the province’s rich culinary heritage that has withstood the test of time. – Rappler.com
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