Friday, March 13, 2015

The 1st Scallop Festival in Gigante Norte, Carles

photo by Nerio Lujan

Barangay Asluman, Gigante Norte, Carles, Iloilo will hold its 1st Scallop Festival on March 20-21 to honor and kick-start a whole new industry that could rival other fish farming activities in Iloilo and could eventually employ the same numbers.
Do not miss this year's event where craft vendors and many great food vendors featuring scallops and more will be offered throughout comfortable Barangay Asluman’s public plaza. The celebration will be highlighted with the Tribal Dance Competition taking the stage at 1:00 pm.

photo by Nerio Lujan
Scallop supports a small but locally important commercial fishery in the islands especially in Gigante Norte, Carles, Iloilo. The majority of the catch is destined as frozen scallop meat to supply the gourmet seafood market locally and a small portion is marketed in nearby municipalities and neighboring provinces in restaurants.

Wholesale market prices for scallops have fluctuated markedly over the past years. Market variability is primarily in response to product availability and condition. The size and meat condition play an integral part in determining the market value of scallop meat. Higher prices are usually paid for larger scallops.

photo by Nerio Lujan
For a time, scalloping became a struggling industry. They were found to very scarce in the area due to unregulated use of trawls and use of dynamites that totally destroyed scallop beds around the area. Destructive trawling method was employed to fish scallop in the area. There were times when they trawl on a 24-hour basis during the fishing season. Catching scallops at a size and reproductive condition which maximises meat weight and condition were not taken into consideration. This had a dramatic impact on the economic attractiveness of scallop fishing in Carles.

photo by Nerio Lujan
Because of the strict enforcement against illegal fishing initiated by Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr., results show a surge in the number scallops in parts of the islands that could be a boon to the scallop industry now and in the many years ahead. Even smaller scallops were found in high numbers in the area. Scallop harvesting is now open in its waters.

Just like oysters and clams, scallops are edible bivalves found both in bay waters and in the sea. They consist of two shells hinged at one end which is why they are known to be as bi-valve mollusks.

A single scallop is capable of producing millions of eggs at once, but the mortality rate is extremely high. Only 1 egg out of 12 million may survive to adulthood. Most scallops can live 20 years or more. Age can often be judged by the concentric rings of their shells.

photo by Nerio Lujan

The edible portion of the scallop is called the “nut,” a soft, fleshy textured muscle that opens and closes the two shells. The flavor is mild sweet and delicate and are used in many recipes similar to shrimp or clams in foods such as pasta dishes and appetizers. It is also best served with a mild sauce of cream, cheese, or butter that does not overpower the subtle flavor of the scallop itself.

Scallops are good sources of magnesium and potassium, two other nutrients that provide significant benefits for the cardiovascular system. Magnesium helps out by causing blood vessels to relax, thus helping to lower blood pressure while improving blood flow. Potassium helps to maintain normal blood pressure levels. It also provides protection against colon cancer.

When planning your scalloping trip to Carles, make sure to check out the local area you have decided on for your adventure. Helpful guides in Gigante Norte on where go scalloping will introduce you to other attractions found in the site.

Carles is the last town north of the province of Iloilo. It is 147.6 kilometers away or a 3-hour bus ride from Northern Iloilo Public Transport Terminal in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro, Iloilo City. To get to Barangay Asluman, Gigante Norte, visitors can take a motorized boat ride in Bangkal Wharf in mainland Carles.  If you have any questions about scalloping or where to scalloping in Carles feel free to contact Miss Marjorie Gumban-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09198871348. Scalloping season is just around the corner so plan your trip well.

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