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Albay’s cuisine, culture and craft rock

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Beyond the perfect-coned Mayon Volcano towering majestically over Albay, the province also takes pride in its mouth-watering spicy cuisine, checkered history and culture and age-old crafts.

These and all give visitors a consummate experience.

This month, Albay is celebrating the charm of its cuisine, culture and crafts in a month-long merry-making in three various municipal festivals.

The Quitinday Green Hills Nature Park in Camalig is Albay’s version of the famous Chocolate Hills

Revelry started with a bang as Rocksteddy rocked the quaint town of Camalig to open the two-week Pinangat Festival putting forward its culinary tradition.

The festivities’ main events include 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 from June 17 to 19.

A view of the majestic Mayon Volcano as seen from Sumlang Lake 

The town’s culinary pride, Pinangat is a traditional regional dish 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 simmered in coconut milk, pinangat is a staple in the dining table of most Albayanos.

Camalig is regarded as a heritage town because of the gentry’s ancestral houses. The most notable of which is the Nuyda House, the postcard-pretty Spanish-era St. John the Baptist church, the repository of relics excavated from archaeological sites at Hoyop-Hoyopan Cave.

Street dancers at the annual Tabak Festival of Tabaco City

The town has been drawing tourists with its newest attractions—Sumlang Lake, a nine-hectare man-made lagoon where visitors can cruise aboard a bamboo raft, and the Quitinday Green Hills Formation Reserve whose contour is akin to the famed Chocolate Hills of Bohol.

Folklore comes alive in Pulang-Angui Festival in Polangui celebrated from June 15 to 29. It traces the town’s beginnings. The festivity relives the legend of Angui, the beautiful maiden dressed in red from head to foot said to possess all the best qualities of a woman. Suitors pursued her even when she had already surreally transported into the world of myths.

Rocksteddy performing at Camalig’s Pinangat Fest 

Sensational rock quintet 6Cyclemind will rock the town’s public plaza on June 18 and breathe life into one of Albay’s most sought-after festival.

The two-week festivity is highlighted by the crimson-red street dance presentation depicting the legend of “Pulang Angui” on June 24. 

The popular craft of cutlery takes center stage in Tabak Festival in Tabaco City from June 15 to 24. Known as the country’s “cutlery capital”, Tabaco is a major producer of quality scissors, knives and bolos crafted by its skilled blacksmiths. The celebration’s main attraction is on June 23 with the Tabak Street Dance and Exhibition which shows the origin of the popular cutlery craft. 

6Cyclemind is set to perform at Pulang-Angui Festival in Polangui

Governor Joey Salceda, who is serving his last term before he assumes as Albay’s second district representative in Congress, will be given recognition for nurturing the festivals into note-worthy tourist events. The municipalities in the province agreed to lavish the outgoing governor with a feast worthy of someone who put the province in the country’s top tourist destination.

Salceda is the recipient of the prestigious 2015 Tourism Star of the Department of Tourism for making the province one of the country’s leading travel destinations.


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