LALA, LANAO DEL NORTE — To showcase the product the town is know for, the local government of Lala, in Lanao del Norte, on Monday (March 21) conducted ‘alimango’ (crab) cooking contest at the municipal ground as part of the Agri-Aqua Day of the town’s 73rd Founding Anniversary.
Twenty seven barangays sent their representatives who are known in their place in cooking special crab recipe.
Miguela Lakapak of Barangay Matampay Bucana has specialized ‘spicy crabs with soda’ drinks. She said, she learned it from youtube three years ago but it is her first time to participate in a cooking competition.
Lily Huiso, a Day Care worker of Barangay San Isidro is her barangay’s representatives in crab cooking contest for several years. This year, she cooked ‘buttered crabs with vegetables’.
Huiso said her daughter, who works on a cruise ship, taught her some secrets in making it special.
“I am putting it any preservative or I don’t put MSG because it is not good for our body,” Huiso said.
No Alimango Mountain
Municipal Agriculturist Felina Cuaresma said this is the third in the history of Lala’s annual Alimango Festival that there has no ‘alimango mountain’ that residents and visitors expect because of the pandemic.
Alimango mountain is a mountain-like arrangement of thousand of crabs that will be distributed to the visitors after the program.
“We were not able to prepare because we are not expecting the COVID surge will low down. But we have enough supply of crabs,” Cuaresma said.
Despite the absence of the anticipated ‘crab mountain’, Cuaresma said the LGU was able to organize other events like crab relay, marathon and rodeo.
Lala is known for its mud crab products in Northern Mindanao, along with its neighboring town in Kapatagan, also in Lanao del Norte.
Stephen Balatero, Fishery Designate of the Municipal Agriculture’s Office, said Lala has 100 hectares for crab fattening stretching to nine coastal barangays: Darumawang Bucana, Matampay Bucana, Darumawang Ilaya, Matampay Ilaya, Pacita, Tunaan, Kamalan, Gumagamot and Raw-an.
Balatero said, 8.40 tons of crabs are produced per year in Lala for local markets and for export.
Vice Mayor Cesar Yap, Jr., said the local government unit (LGU) is helping workers in the crab farm who were greatly affected by the pandemic. This year’s celebration, even if it is not big, has to push through to cope up with the effects to the workers and operators.
“The crab production during the pandemic continued but there was a problem in marketing because of the lockdown and closure of many hotels and food industries. In effect, our farmers were selling it at a very low price and some even were giving it away,” Yap said.
As per the municipal agriculture’s office monitoring, the crab prices during the pandemic ranges from 200 pesos to 250 pesos per kilo instead of 600 pesos or 650 pesos per kilo.
Balatero said it was only in December 2021 when the market operation was back to normal.