Tuesday, March 8, 2016

More Fun in Asluman for the 1st Tikab-Tikab Festival

Tribal Dance Contest, performers use the Tikab as accessory to their costumes,
photo by Al Destacamento

For sure, Ilonggos loves seafood and all the wonderful local restaurants that truly make Iloilo one of the best places for foodies to live or visit. Ilonggos are proud of their blue crabs, squid, shrimp, oysters, and of course, scallops. It seems fitting to host a festival showcasing some of these favourite signature seafood treats. With some refreshing drinks, music, cooking demonstrations, games and more, and you have Barangay Asluman’s Tikab-Tikab Festival – the scallop festival in Gigante Norte, Carles, Iloilo on March 18-20, 2016.

fishing as the main income generating activity of the people of Barangay Asluman, 
Gigante Norte, Carles, photo by Al Destacamento

The Tikab-Tikab Festival was established to recognize the importance of scallop to the people of Carles. Though celebrated last year with a different festival name (Scallops Festival), the festivity hopes to promote the positive social and economic impacts of the scallop industry to the people of Carles. It also aims to educate the public about scallop and its importance to the local economy. Barangay Asluman in Isla Gigante Norte is registered to having one of the highest cases of poverty incidence in Iloilo and almost 80% depend on fishing as their source of livelihood.

photo by Al Destacamento

The festival also hopes to publicize the rich variety of seafood in the area and provide the opportunity for people to enjoy it. Most importantly, the festival is expected to boost tourism and recreation in Gigantes and its neighboring northern islands.

scallop harvest, photo by Al Destacamento

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources or BFAR via Shellfish Advisory No. 7, series of 2016 dated March 5 lifted the banning in collecting shellfish from the coastal waters of Gigantes Islands and is now negative for red-tide toxin. Scallops is now safe for human consumption and the harvesting and marketing of shellfishes in the area are now permitted.

scallops picking, photo by Al Destacamento

Belonging to the group of bi-valve mollusks, scallops have two convexly ridged shells. Inside it is an edible soft fleshy textured meat that tastes mildly sweet. Even those who are not fond shellfish will surely love its delectable taste that contains a variety of nutrients. Usually found at depths between 60 feet and deeper, scallops are harvested mainly by dredge gear but sometimes with trawl nets.

Barangay Captain Montibon trying his hand at scallop picking, photo by Al Destacamento

Known to be the Scallops Capital of Iloilo, Barangay Asluman is 2 hours away by motorized boat from Bancal Port in mainland Carles or 2.5 hour motorized boat trip from the port of Estancia.  It is a small fishing community known for its mounds of discarded multi-colored scallop shells. The Barangay has facilities for overnight stay. Its attractions include the 18th century Lighthouse and a few caves.

A few minutes motorized boat ride fronting the barangay are the islets of Gigantillo, Gigantito and Gigantona. Other popular islets worth exploring include Cabugao Gamay and Dako, Antonia, Balbagon, Bantigue, Balbagon, Bulubadiang, Gakit-Gakit, Pulupandan, and Uay Dahon.

Carles is the last town north of the province of Iloilo. It is 147.6 kilometers away or a 3-hour bus ride from Ceres Terminal in Dungon B, Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information about the celebration, please contact Barangay Captain Abelardo Montibon at 09184016994 or Marjorie Gumban – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09198871348.

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