Thursday, April 26, 2018

Celebrating Tubungan’s Colorful and Vibrant Cultural Festival

Tubungan, Iloilo on its 250th Foundation Anniversary will celebrate the 17th Tubong-Tubong Festival, the town’s tradition that runs from April 23 till May 1, 2018. From its humble beginnings, the festival which is aimed at promoting the town, its local culture, attractions and its main produce, the coconut has become a family tradition.

Tubunganons gathers to celebrate and welcomes everyone to the celebration and rejoicing on this merry occasion. The quiet town transforms into a colourful and festive showground where in locals, tourist from the neighboring towns gather to see and experience its vibrant cultural festival, Tubong-Tubong, derived from a Hiligaynon word “tubong” or “to contribute or chip-in.”  The town was an arrabal of neighboring Guimbal. To be separated from Guimbal, residents from neighboring Leon, Igbaras and Tigbauan settled peacefully and permanently in the area leading to its independence in May 1, 1938.

The highlight of the event, the Tubong-Tubong Dance Drama Competition is usually participated in by students in colourful period garbs, dramatizing segments of the town’s important historic events while dancing as accompanied by drums or canned music.

With local artisans, food vendors, demonstrators and entertainers participating in this nine-day long annual tradition, there is always plenty to do, see, and explore. With this year’s theme, “Pag-usoy sa Banas kang Kahapon, Pamukaw sa Baratyagon bilang Tubunganon,” the festivity opens with a Civic Parade at 4 p.m., Opening Program at 5 p.m., Opening of Agri-Trade Fair and Food Kiosks at 6 p.m. and the street Dancing Competition at 7 p.m. on April 23 (Monday); April 24 (Tuesday) Sayaw 2018 at 8 a.m. and the Search for Miss Tubong-Tubong 2018 at 6 p.m.; April 25 (Wednesday) Laro ng Lahi and Parlor Games at 8 a.m. and Passion for Fashion at 6 p.m.

April 26 (Thursday) LIGA Activities at 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., and LIGA Night at 6 p.m.; April 27 (Friday) Slow Race Elimination for Motorcycle and Tricycle Show at 8 a.m., Advocacy on Safety Driving at 1 p.m. and Motorcylce and Tricycle Show Final Judging at 6 p.m.; April 28 (Saturday) opens with the Panay Association of Rides Enthusiasts (PARE) Gift Giving at 8 a.m. in Barangay Igtuble, Tubong-Tubong Motorcross Competition at 8 a.m. in Barangay San Jose, Pencak Silat Tournament at 8 a.m., 4th Tubong-Tubong Football Festival from 7 a.m. till 5 p.m., and Basketball Game at 7 p.m.

April 29 (Sunday) Diskubre Igtuble Mountain Bike Adventures at 6 a.m., Gab-I sang Pasidungog kag Pasalamat at 7 p.m.; April 30 (Monday) Sigabong sa Tubong-Tubong 2018 Battle of Class A Sound System from 8 a.m. till 3p.m. and TNHS Alumni Night at 7 p.m.; May 1 (Tuesday) Diana at 4:30 a.m., Thanksgiving Mass at 7 a.m., Tubong-Tubong Dance Drama Competition at 8 a.m., Night of Voices and Laughter at 7 p.m., and Awards Night and Fireworks Display at 9 p.m.

Tubungan is situated 41.1 kilometers or an hour drive southwest from Iloilo City. Made up of 48 barangays, the town and is bounded on the north by the municipality of Leon, on the south by the municipality of Guimbal, on the east by the municipality of Tigbauan and on the west by the municipality of Igbaras.

To get to Tubungan, visitors can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Mrs. Marlyn Tagudar – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09152893395 or at 3960754.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Carabao-Carroza Festival: More than Just a Race

Pavia, Iloilo will showcase and preserve its local way of life between the people in the community and carabaos through the Carabao-Carroza Festival. Celebrated every April 25 till the 4th of May, the town known for championing its relationship with them through this annual festivity annually pays homage to their carabaos in the most delightful of ways.

With this year’s theme, “Journeying Towards Excellence,” the festivity will open on April 25 with daily Agri-Trade and Food Fair and nightly entertainment till the 4th of May.

Every 3rd of May, on its festival day, 18 beautifully-decorated carrozas with their muses depart from Barangay Ungka-I passing in front of the main streets leading to the town’s poblacion and arrive at the football grounds of Pavia National High School at around 8:30 a.m. Savoring a traditional atmosphere, Pavianhons watch with joy the star of parade, the carabaos, some, fitted with brightly colored cloths and lots of decorations.

The much-anticipated race follows after a short program declaring the opening of the celebration. Locals and guests and those from neighboring villages pour into the festival grounds from all four directions as the excitement heightens. They gather around the carabao racing track, hundreds of spectators stand and are packed there and are in high anticipation of the upcoming races.

Flagpoles are staked out to mark boundaries, their colourful flags fluttering against the vast blue sky. Then the carabao race begin, both races involve a special riding skill. Two major race types are observed annually: the flat racing, a race of carabaos with their owners; and the carroza-racing. Both races are of a 100-meter long run along the parallel grassy track of the field.

It was about 46 years ago that this event was first organized as a reward for the carabaos which had toiled so hard in rice planting and harvest. This came to form part of the festival celebrating the completion of rice planting or harvesting, which is a tiring task not only for man but also for carabaos. The carabaos are treasured to such an extent that the custom of people living together with them in the same area where the house is still remains.

The Carabao, known to many as the “Beast of Burden,” but to Filipinos as the “Farmer’s Bestfriend” is a living symbol of strength, power,   efficiency, perseverance and hardwork. 

For the people of Pavia, the carabao represents its history and strength. It is no wonder that when you speak to Pavianhons, they are proud of their heritage through the annual celebration of their Carabao-Carroza Festival.

A prosperous town of dynamic people, Pavia is 9.6 kilometers or a 30-minute drive north from Iloilo City.  The town is 2,703-hectare big and comprised of 18 barangays and is bordered by the municipalities of Oton, San Miguel, Sta. Barbara, Leganes and Iloilo City. To get to Pavia, one can take a jeepney in Jaro Plaza, Iloilo City.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Katagman: A Celebration of Oton’s Culture and Creativity

Oton, Iloilo, will celebrate its 446th Foundation Day Anniversary alongside its annual Katagman Festival on April 30 – May 3, 2018. The festivity is all about Oton’s history. It is one of Iloilo’s successful community events and promotes the towns’ wonderful stories and places.

Celebrated at the heart of the charming old town, Katagman Festival began in 2004 and has grown each year. Every May Ogtonganons explore their history through series of special events highlighted by the Music, Dance and Theater Competition at 6 p.m. on May 3 (Thursday) with the Street Dancing Competition at 4 p.m. After 15 very successful years the event is firmly established as a major fixture on the local festival calendar attracting many.

This year’s theme, “Kasaysayan sang Mascara nga Bulawan Aton Balikan, Masanag nga Buasdamlag Aton Maaguman,” activities, exhibitions and programs unfolds throughout the 4-day celebration that cater to everybody with series of special events starting from April 30 (Monday) with the Opening of Agri-Fair, Garden Show and Plant Sale at 9 a.m. in front of Annex B Municipal Building, Mass at 2:30 p.m., Parade at 4 p.m., Opening Program at 6 p.m. at the Plaza and Hiyas Sang Katagman at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza.

May 1 (Tuesday) Katagman Fun Run/ Walk at 5:30 a.m. at the Plaza, On-the-Spot-Painting Contest at 7:30 a.m. at the Heritage Lagoon, Bugal Sang Ogtonganon – Awarding of Outstanding Ogtonganons and Young Achievers, Clean and Green, Modelong Gulayan and Top/ Prompt Business Tax Payers at 6 p.m. at the Sheridan Boutique Resort. May 2 (Wednesday) Sinadya sa Baybay and Motorboat and Baroto Race at 7 a.m. Fishport, Laro ng Lahi at 8 a.m., Plaza and Zumbathon sa Katagman at 5 p.m., Plaza; May 3 (Thursday) 446th Foundation Day Mass at 2 p.m., Street Dancing Competition at 4 p.m., Oton Plaza and Music, Dance and Theater Competition at 6 p.m., Oton Plaza.

Participated in by 37 barangays of the town and clustered into seven (7) tribes, the presentation showcases Oton’s rich history starting from its pre-colonial settlement up to the present. The icon of the celebration is the Chinese Golden Death Mask, now considered a National Treasure.

For the town of Oton, the major cultures that impacted their local culture heavily are the Chinese and Spanish. History played a critical role in the evolution of Oton’s cultural life. A vast amount of Chinese pottery has come to light from archaeological sites where wares were recovered from the burial sites in many areas of the town. This is the best evidence of the trade which flourished for centuries between China and Oton.

Chinese merchants carried on a rich trade with the local community and distributed the imports from China such as silk cloth, gongs, porcelain, umbrellas, gold threads, etc. into the area. Filipinos on the other hand would trade honey, rattan, cotton, pearls, wood, gold, etc.  As some of these Chinese were engaged in various forms of retail trade, others worked as artisans, producing goods for the use of the Spanish in the community. These various activities were dominated and almost monopolized by the Chinese.

The Spanish had not come to the Oton to engage in the kind of trade and artisanry carried on by the Chinese. The Spanish were in the area as much for religious as for economic reasons. Conversion of the locals was a major objective of Spanish policy.

Katagman is not only a celebration of Oton’s culture and creativity, it is a celebration of art and design, fashion and food on the streets of Panay’s Oldest Pueblo. So, whether you are a long-time enthusiast or have never seen a historic festival in action before, you will find plenty to entertain you at Oton’s Katagman Festival.

The First Class town of Oton is approximately 10.2 kilometers or a 25-minute ride south from the city and is bordered in the east by the district of Arevalo in Iloilo City; west by the municipality of Tigbauan: north by San Miguel; and the southern portion by a stretch of shoreline of the Sulu Sea. It has a land area of 8, 456 hectares politically subdivided into 37 barangays.

For more information about any of the events above, please contact Cheche S. Demo-os – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09778500954.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Guimbal’s Historic Journey to Bantayan Festival

Guimbal, Iloilo, townspeople will gather for the annual Bantayan Festival, a five day big celebration on April 3-7, 2018 with historical re-enactments, parades, food festival, pageantry, music, film showing and magnificent firework shows. Bantayan is suitable for all ages and a great family festival.

Series of sponsored events would entertain the community and it visitors starting from April 3 (Tuesday) with the Opening and Foundation Day through a Mass at 2 p.m., Grand Parade with Float and Street Dancing Competitions at 3 p.m., Opening Program with the Drumbeat Competition at 7 p.m., and Opening of Food Festival; April 4 (Wednesday) Search for Anyag Kang Bantayan at 8p.m.; April 5 (Thursday) Boat Racing and Canvass Painting Competitions in Bantayan Beach Resort at 8 a.m., Pinta Lawas at 12 nn. in Bantayan Beach Resort, Re-enactment of the Moro Raid at 2: 30 p.m. at Bantayan Beach Resort, 14th Bantayan Film Festival at 8 p.m.; April 6 (Friday) Motorcross at 8 a.m., Car Show at 4 p.m., Bantayan Artists Night with Zeus Collins at 8 p.m.; April 7 (Saturday) Tribal Dance Drama Competition at 2 p.m., Merry-Making at 5 p.m., Awards Night and Fireworks Competition at 9:30 p.m.

As the Muslims were establishing its political influence in many of the islands, the arrival of the Spaniards became an intrusion into the commercial activities and at the same time a threat to their expanding political influence. 

Because of that Muslims conducted raids on the Spanish-held settlements. Obviously, the raids presented a source of power. Moreover, their possession of slaves brought them power and influence. The motive of the piratical attacks was simple vengeance against the Christian missionaries in propagating their faith among the inhabitants of the islands.

For many years, Christian communities in the coastal areas of Panay, Negros, Cebu in the Visayas were fractured and chaotic due to frequent Moro invasion. Men were captured as slaves but were not sold for money but were exchanged for arms and ammunition. Moros would use them for housework, fieldwork, and craftwork and used extensively in the incursions as oarsmen of the pirates' vessels, freeing the pirates' hands from odd jobs especially during naval encounters.

The relatively weak resistance shown by the inhabitants during the frequent raids was due to the Spanish policy of prohibiting them from carrying any form of arms, which they might have used for self-protection against the raiders. Thus the community was rendered helpless before the Moro raiders.

Most common method of the raid was the surprise attack in force. The Christian communities would be caught unaware and hence be unable to mount or organize resistance.

Stone churches were used as a refuge center during the attacks. However, the pirates would set fire and ringed the church with trenches and breastworks. Churches became a subject to heavy cannon fire and flaming darts.

Later, the town ensconced in fortresses along its shoreline to protect itself from a beleaguering Moro pirate menace. The watchtowers were erected to forewarn townspeople, giving them ample time to organize an orderly defense of their community. Warning devices in the form of smoke chains or sounds from the constant beating of a drum would signal everyone in the community for an incoming Moro raid. Several failures in wearing and tearing down defences and churches, the pirates decided to give up the siege and sailed away.

The festivity will make its visitors feel like time travel is possible when they visit the town during Bantayan with the its centerpiece, the Tribal Dance Drama Competition and the Re-enactment, a time warp of dramatized performances in which spectators are transported back to 18th century. Both performances will showcase the victorious battle of the natives against the Moros on April 7 (Saturday) at 2 p.m., while the colourful and fierce battle will be re-enacted by last year’s winning tribe on April 5 (Thursday) at the Bantayan Beach Resort at 2:30 p.m.

The town of Guimbal is 29 kilometers south from Iloilo City. It has a land area of 4, 448 hectares politically subdivided into 33 barangays. The town shares borders with Tigbauan on the east; on the northeast by Tubungan; Igbaras on the northwest; and west by Miag-ao. It annually celebrates its religious fiesta in honor of San Nicolas de Tolentino every September 10. Markey day is every Tuesday.

To get to the resort, one can take a Guimbal jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Miss Karen Gayanilo-Felicio at 09082865480.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Semana Santa sa Iloilo: Semana de Turismo

Iloilo, the celebration of Semana Santa has become a major source of domestic tourism as many Ilonggos can take advantage of a long weekend for travel. Domestic travellers go out of the city to the nearest towns to make a pilgrimage at the same time to enjoy a beach or mountain getaway.

Travelling during this time can be a special and intense experience for many, an opportunity not just to observe but also to become immersed in deeply-felt local cultural traditions.

The week pays tribute to the Passion of Jesus Christ, the time of suffering before his crucifixion and death. As Iloilo boasts a large population of Catholic believers, many approach the Lenten season as an occasion for great, albeit somber, festival-making. That is why Semana Santa or the Holy Week is one of the most widely celebrated and important religious holiday of the year.

Observances of many kinds can be witnessed in virtually every town in Iloilo, beginning with Domingo de Ramos or Palm Sunday and ending on Domingo de Gloria or Easter Sunday. Each municipality boasts unique traditions for celebrating Semana Santa.

Domongo de Ramos or Sunday is celebrated where the faithful joins in a special mass which includes the blessing of palm fronds or palm crosses. A large procession follows after the mass which commemorates Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. As he rode into the city on a donkey, his followers spread palm branches at his feet and called him "Hosanna" or "Savior." Palm branches were considered symbols of victory and triumph at the time. Christian churches all over will be decorated with palm branches. The parish priest will walk towards the church, while the congregation places palms before him. Many hand out palm branches that have been blessed by the priest to the congregation, who will then make them into crosses. The branch is meant to serve as a reminder of the Christ's victory over death.

A large percentage of the faithful goes Visita Iglesia or Church Visit to pay homage to Christ. It is a traditional practice among devout Catholics normally visiting seven or more churches on Holy Thursday. The faithful, during Visita Iglesia, pray on Stations of the Cross in the church. Iloilo is home to a number of beautiful century-old churches and monuments. No wonder it is a favourite Visita Iglesia destination for many.

In the towns Barotac Viejo and Banate remembers the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ through their annual Passion Plays on Biernes Santo or Holy Friday. Both involve a cast of almost nearing a hundred of performers playing key roles in the Biblical story. No professional actors are hired for the play, which is performed only by those who were born in the towns mentioned. The play's cast is drawn from all walks of life from within the municipality. The play is performed in Hiligaynon.

In the mid-afternoon of Biernes Santo or Good Friday, the streets of many historic centers are filled with multitudes and the faithful carrying rosaries and candles for the grand Lenten procession. Mounted on floats fully lighted and lavishly decorated, mostly of fresh flowers are huge, heavy and most often almost a century-old Biblical Lenten character statues where the towns of Janiuay, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan, Oton and Leganes are famous for. The procession departs after the afternoon mass from their historic churches and winds a route through their poblacion or town center. The towns mentioned boasts to be among the most fervent and colourful Holy Week processions in Iloilo.

The town of Cabatuan welcomes everyone with their annual Kapiya and Pasyon competitions after the procession on Good Friday. Every barangay around the town center proudly display their beautifully Kapiyas (Stations of the Cross) with life-sized Lenten sculptures made from indigenous materials. The Kapiyas are well-lighted during the evening. Pasyon is a practice of continued singing without disruption from start to finish. The song recounts the life of Christ with commentaries and moral lessons and ends with verses that encouraged everyone to follow the teachings of Christ. It also speaks of sin and the punishment of hell. The singers, young and old are engage in marathon chanting of the Christ’s Passion in their little makeshift bamboo chapels clustered in the different streets of the town.

Domingo de Gloria is unquestionably the most important day of the entire Lenten week. It is a time for spiritual renewal and people expect to see plenty of festive crowds bustling about every town plaza following services.

The Department of Tourism is piloting emerging faith tourism destinations highlighting various Filipino traditions that will encompass a holistic pilgrimage experience. Filipinos is encouraged to visit faith-based tourism destinations and participate in the various Lenten activities in their respective towns and cities.

The Provincial Tourism Office is enhancing its promotions of the provinces’ rich cultural heritage embodied in the historical, architectural and religious significance of it numerous churches and age-old traditions.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Passi City: Taking Great Pride in Pintado Tradition

Passi City, Iloilo will celebrate its Pintados de Pasi Festival on March 10-24, 2018 alongside with its 20th Cityhood Anniversary celebration. With the theme,” Go, Passi! Soar to Greater Height!,” In an effort to preserve their cultural heritage, an annual festivity of their tattoo tradition adds the important people in their community’s journey with series of events have been prepared for this 3 week-long festivity.

March 10 (Saturday) Mass and Opening Program, Recognition of Awardees, Opening of Food Festival, Passi Peoples Trade Fair, Garden Show and Concert at the Park with Live Band; March 11 -24 for Food Festival, Passi Peoples Trade Fair and Garden Show; March 12 (Monday) Concert at the Park; March 13 (Tuesday) Concert at the Park; March 14 (Wednesday) 20th Cityhood Anniversary with Pintados Street Dancing at 8 a.m. and Mass at 5 p.m.; March 15 – 19 with Concert at the Park; March 20 (Tuesday) Bb. Pintados 2018 Talents Competition at 4 p.m.; 

March 21 (Wednesday) Parade and Pasundayag at 8 a.m., Golden Hearts Award and Handuraw at 7 p.m.; March 22 (Thursday) Laro ng Lahi, Pinta Lawas and Ginoong Pintados; March 23 (Friday) Karosa Parada and Karabaw Pagwapa and Pagwapo at 7 a.m. with the Coronation Night of Bb. Pintados at 7 p.m.; , March 24 (Saturday) Mass, Pintados Tribe Competition at 8 a.m., Awarding Ceremonies and Fireworks Display at 6 p.m., Night with the Stars at 7 p.m.; March 25 (Sunday) Thanksgiving Mass; April 6 (Friday) Judging Pintados 2018 Photo Contest; April 8 (Sunday) Awarding Ceremony for Photo Contest; April 8 -16 Photo Exhibit of winning Pintados photos.

In the Visayas, tattooing was highly revered and ritualised. The tattooing would begin usually during adolescence. Patterns are one of a kind. They are always highly intricate and detailed and display the craftsmanship and artistry of not only the artist but of the local culture.

The complex art of body tattooing existed in the Visayan Islands long before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors to our shores. Known to be “Pintados,” they were fierce and noble warriors covered with intricate solid patterns all over their body.

Only people of rank or status were allowed to have tattoos. A person who did not have any high-ranking social status, and those who could not have a tattoo were seen as people of lower social status.

The designs were not meant as an embellishment to their bodies, rather to mark a rite of passage like that from childhood into adulthood or as a mark to begin their journey of becoming a fearsome warrior.

For men, the most common are the ones on their chests, tattooed only to those who successfully waged war. Series are added to it depending on the number of succeeding battles won. At times, patterns extend to their backs arms, thighs and legs. The bravest warrior is believed to be tattooed on the face.

Women also possess tattoos on their body, mostly in the chin area, arms and fingers where they are seen in our local culture as sexual lures or signs of fertility and beauty.

For Pintados de Pasi festival, this traditional art honoured through dance accompanied by music and occasional chanting has made a strong impact in the community as the people have inserted their own meanings and themes into this traditional art work. For Passinhons, Pintados tattooing has remained their cultural symbol.

The City of Passi City is situated 50 kilometers away or an hour and twenty-minute drive from Iloilo City. It is located along the Central portion of the province using the Iloilo-Capiz National Highway.  It is politically subdivided into 51 barangays over a land area of 25,068 hectares. It shares boundaries with San Enrique on the north; on the south is Dumarao, Capiz; Calinog on the east; and on the west is Lemery.

Visitors to Passi City can take the bus at the new Ceres Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information about the celebration, please contact Mrs. Gina Palmares – CityTourism Officer at (033) 3115087/ 3115947.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Tikab-Tikab Festival: Committing to the Livelihood of Asluman

Barangay Asluman, Gigante Norte, Carles, Iloilo will celebrate its 4th Tikab-Tikab Festival on March 22-25, 2018. It was not until years ago that scallops in Gigante islands became popular, and islanders quickly realized they were surrounded by a valuable commodity, literally waiting each season to be scooped off the bottom, shipped to the mainland and sold at a premium.

Highlighting the celebration are series of events that will open on March 22 (Thursday) with a Parade and presentation from students of Asluman Elementary School; March 23 (Friday) Miss Gay, Dance Contest for Women hosted by Womens Association; March 24 (Saturday) Lin-ay Sg Tikab-Tikab Festival, Live Band; March 25 (Sunday) Tribal Dance Competition of Granada National High School.

The seafood industry in the area is trying to sell one particular quality that sets it apart, scallops, highly prized as a food source. These brightly multi-colored, symmetrical, fan-shaped shells are valued because it is used as motifs in art and design.

In Barangay Asluman, fishermen dive 15-feet underwater to harvest scallops by hand, but the majority of scallops in the are harvested by draggers. When harvested, scallops are still flipping...alive. Divers bring them in that day within hours, and do not soak them in anything. They just could not get any fresher. Usually when they move you can feel them pulsate. Divers haul in gets hand-delivered to customers right to their picnic cottages. The island residents who use traditional harvesting techniques are a vital, singular connection to their past.

The market is confined essentially to scallop meats though a demand for whole scallops is emerging due to its colorful shell. These are marketed mainly through restaurants in the city, but are also available from specialty seafood shops around northern Iloilo. Fresh scallops tend to be more highly valued than frozen.

Gigante Islands is an island chain situated in the northernmost tip of Iloilo Province. It is approximately 18 kilometers from the main port in Barangay Bancal, mainland of Carles or an hour and a half motorized pumpboat ride or 45-minute by fastcraft depending on sea condition.

Belonging to the municipality of Carles, it is composed of two large islands: Gigante Sur (south) with barangays Lantangan and Gabi and Gigante Norte (north) with barangays Granada and Asluman. The two islands are separated by an 800-metre-wide channel reaching Gigante Norte for another 30-minute motorized pumpboat from Gigante Sur.

Gigante Islands lie in the Visayan Sea---acclaimed to be the richest fishing ground in Southeast Asia. But not known to many, Gigante Islands is home to some of the most biologically diverse and richest coastal and marine resources. The Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE), a biodiversity conservation organization has identified endemic species of a frog (Platymantis insulatu) listed as critical and a gecko (Gigantes Limestone Gecko) listed as endangered under the Red List of Threatened Species of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Also identified to be rare in the area are several endemic bird species.

Aside from its marine and coastal resources, Gigantes is popular for shellfish, particularly scallops that thrive in its deep waters. An exceptional treat to visiting tourists, scallops are harvested almost every day at 15-feet deep and are sold P1.00 a piece for an order of a hundred pieces. Very abundant though not easy to collect, it has become an attraction when visiting the islands.

Gigante Norte is a coastal community whose lives depend on fishing but there are other income-generating activities. Both men and women indulge in various income-generating occupations, where men work as pump-boat operators or crew, carpenters, driving tricycle serving as porters and fishers using indigenous and manual methods. Most of the women however, earn income as sari-sari storekeepers, or food, vegetable vendors, laundry, cook in accommodation establishments or souvenir makers all year round. In fishing, the men usually produce catch from the shore and women and children, on the other hand, forage for shells and fish as well.

It was not until years ago that scallops in Gigante islands became popular, and islanders quickly realized they were surrounded by a valuable commodity, literally waiting each season to be scooped off the bottom, shipped to the mainland and sold at a premium.

The annual celebration of Tikab-Tikab will continuously remind the community that aside from sustaining a healthy scallop fishery; maintaining a healthy water environment is a responsibility.  Clean waters and healthy sea life benefits everyone who spends time in the shores of Gigante Islands. 

Celebrating Tubungan’s Colorful and Vibrant Cultural Festival

Tubungan, Iloilo on its 250th Foundation Anniversary will celebrate the 17th Tubong-Tubong Festival, the town’s tradition that runs ...