Albay Feasts on Cuisine, Culture and Craft
Bernard Supetran | Jun 08, 2016
Down in the Bicol region, Albay remains on a festive spirit as it showcases its cuisine, culture and craft in three different festivals this June.
The month-long merry-making begins as quaint town of Camalig puts forward its mouth-watering cuisine in the Pinangat Festival from June 10-25.
The festivities’ main events are a street parade depicting the harvest and cooking process of the pinangat, a balsa race at the scenic Sumlang Lake and puto lanson cooking contest, and an abaca-making contest, set on June 17-19.
The town’s culinary pride, Pinangat is a traditional regional dish made up of shredded gabi leaves, red ginger, tiny shrimps (balaw) or a slice of salted fish or pork and crushed pepper. Wrapped in gabi leaves, tied in bundles and cooked in coconut milk, pinangat is a staple in the dining table of most Bicolanos.
Camalig is also acknowledged as Albay’s heritage town because of the gentry’s ancestral houses, the most notable of which is the Nuyda House. In the heart of the town is the postcard-pretty Spanish-era St. John Church the Baptist which serves as repositoryof relics excavated from archaeological sites at Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave.
The town has also been drawing tourists with its newest attractions—Sumlang Lake, is a nine-hectare man-made lagoon where visitors can cruise aboard a bamboo raft, and the
Quitinday Green Hills Formation Reserve whose contour is similar to the famed Chocolate Hills. A local legend comes alive in Pulang-Angui Festival in Polangui on June 15-29, which traces the town’s beginnings.
The festivity relives the legend of Angui, the beautiful maiden dressed in red from head to foot who was said to possess all the best qualities of a woman. She was pursued by suitors even when she had already surreally transported into the world of myths.
The highlight of the festivity is the crimson-red street dance presentation depicting the life and times of “Pulang Angui” on June 24. The fest draws to a close with the patronal fiesta of
Saints Peter and Paul on June 29. The town is also home to the hilltop Lake Danao where the sinarapan, the world’s smallest fish can be caught.
The popular craft of cutlery takes center stage in Tabak Festival in Tabaco City slated on June 15-24. Referred to as the country’s “cutlery capital”, Tabaco is a major producer of quality scissors, knives and bolos crafted by its skilled blacksmiths.
The locus of the celebration is on June 23 with the Tabak Street Dance and Exhibition which retraces the origin of the popular cutlery craft. The Festival concludes with the patronal fiesta of St. John the Baptist on June 24.
Tabaco takes pride in its heritage gem—St. John Church which was completed in 1879, and was declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure in 2012. Its other cultural attractions are the Smith and Bell ancestral house, the Simborio or mortuary chapel at the public cemetery and the National Museum Regional Branch.
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