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Isabela fishing town celebrates ‘Ikan’ Festival

Divilacan, Isabela—This promising town with pristine white beaches fronting Luzon’s Pacific coast celebrated its 49th founding anniversary on Wednesday, and the 2018 “Ikan” Festival on Thursday.

This installation art for the Ikan Festival celebrates Divilacan’s abundant fish catch as the town celebrated its 49th founding anniversary. Abe Almiro
“Ikan” is the Ilocano word for fish, and the festival celebrates the town’s abundant and diverse fish catch.

Divilacan became a municipality by virtue of Republic Act 5776, which ceded the northeastern coastline from the mother town of Tumauini, Isabela.

“A decade ago, fish catch was very much abundant. Now that modern fishing techniques using trawlers and aggregate ‘payaw’ fish shelters, foreign fishermen could catch as much as 4 to 5 tons per harvest, but it has resulted in the decline of catch for fishermen using traditional methods,” explained Divilacan Mayor Venturito C. Bulan.

By creating artificial shelters suspended underwater using a line connected to a floating buoy and at least three sinkers, smaller fish species that gather around the shelter will lure bigger fish to come near. During harvest, a large net would then encircle the ‘payaw’, catching everything around the shelter.

A ‘payaw’ would cost around P70,000 to install. Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources officials have started training locals to use this catching technology.

Topics: Ikan Festival , Republic Act 5776 , Divilacan , Mayor Venturito C. Bulan
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