Alimango Festival, also known as Crab Festival, is an annual seafood festival and founding anniversary of the town of Lala in Lanao del Norte, Philippines every March 22. Its central focus is the abundant harvest of crabs. Constituent barangays participate in this town-wide, week-long event.
History of Alimango Festival
Alimango festival comes from alimango, which means crab. It was started by the municipal government of Lala in 2002 and scheduled to coincide its founding date. According to a Philippine News Agency article in 2022, the municipality had 100 hectares of land allocated to farming crabs which were sold to the domestic market as well as foreign markets as export products. These were located in the following villages: Darumawang Bucana, Darumawang Ilaya, Gumagamot, Kamalan, Matampay Bucana, Matampay Ilaya, Pacita, Raw-an, and Tunaan.
Because of the health protocol set in place to prevent rise of coronavirus infection, the celebration was put on hold in 2020 and 2021. The town held it again in 2022.
Alimango Festival is also celebrated in the town of Caluag in the province of Quezon.
History of Lala, Lanao del Norte
The festival is also a founding anniversary of the coastal town of Lala. Located in the southern tip of the Panquil Bay, it was founded on March 22, 1949 through Executive No. 208 issued by then President Elpidio Quirino. The issuance also established the seven original barangay (villages) that comprised the town, and it has since grown to a little less than two dozens. Its lands were carved from the town of Tubod and situated in Kapatagan Valley.
In the past, it was inhabited by Muslim people called the Maranao. The name Lala is thought to have either come from Muslim origin which means flat plain or from a Christian origin which means one that is fraught with danger due to the spread of mosquito-born malaria disease. Christian settlers mostly from the Visayas region started to migrate and settle in the area during Spanish colonial period and in earnest during the American occupation. They were lured by its fecund lands and lived in coastal communities, along rivers, and eventually into interior lands.
Formerly, Lala River was an important channel of goods to Kapatagan Valley. However, its prominence as a port in what was called Lala Proper dwindled with the construction of a road connecting Iligan to Pagadian, cutting the trip shorter and diverting the flow of products and merchandise. Hence, Executive No. 56 by then President Ramon Magsaysay on August 13, 1954 moved the seat of municipal government from Lala to Lanipao, a village that was located along the major thoroughfare.
Alimango Festival Activities
Activities in Alimango Festival include parade, religious celebration, dance, sports, live band, concerts, band contest, street dance competition, beatuy pageant called Miss Lala, and street parade. Its highlight is the cook-fest where participants are challenged to come up with new, exciting dishes with the use of crab as main ingredient. Other mainstays include:
Agri-Aqua Trade Fair
The Agri-Aqua Trade Fair puts highlight on the important contributions fo farmers and fisherfolk. Products from agriculture (produce such as rice, fruits, vegetables, livestock) and fishery (shells, crabs) are on display in various booths. It is also a contest where the most attractive booth wins prestigious awards.
The festival is popular for its Alimango Mountain. It is a visual sight of heaps of crabs that would then be distributed to the festival-goers. In some years, it can reached in excess of a ton.
How to reach Lala, Lanao del Norte
Book a flight to Zamboanga International Airport and then take a bus to Lala, Lanao del Norte.
- Alimango Festival. Tourism Promotions Board Philippines. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Micheal Navarro. Alimango festival kicks off in Lanao del Norte. Newsline. March 21, 2022. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Alimango Festival Amazes Sec. Andanar. Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte. March 22, 2018. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Divina Suson. Lanao Norte town anniversary showcases ‘alimango’ cook fest. Philippine News Agency. March 21, 2022. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Lanao Norte showcases Alimango festival. Sunstar. March 22, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Lala’s Alimango Festival! Lanao del Norte officials seek for preservation of Panguil Bay. Politiko. March 24, 2019. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Lala celebrates Alimango Festival. Edge Davao. Volume 5 Issue 37. April 25, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola. Crab Mountain. Manila Bulletin. March 22, 2018. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Executive Order No. 208, s. 1949. Official Gazette. Retrieved November 25, 2022
- Executive Order No. 56, s. 1954. Official Gazette. Retrieved November 25, 2022