Lucena festival hails native smoked fish as ‘food treasure’ | Inquirer News

Lucena festival hails native smoked fish as ‘food treasure’

By: - Correspondent / @dtmallarijrINQ
/ 12:10 AM June 18, 2015

LUCENA CITY—A weeklong festival dubbed “Pasayahan sa Lucena” last month brought into focus one of the city’s native products, the smoked fish or tinapa, which the local government aimed to bring into the mainstream of national cuisine.

“Aside from our already famous sweet and spicy noodle dish called chami, tinapa is also one of our food treasures,” said Arnel Avila, executive assistant to Mayor Roderick Alcala and head of the city public information office.

Tinapa is listed as Lucena’s top commodity under the One Town, One Product (Otop) program of the Department of Trade and Industry, which seeks to promote local entrepreneurship and create jobs. The tinapa-making industry currently employs thousands of residents.


Usually made from tunsoy (herring) and galunggong (scad), the delicacy is sold in the public market for P150-P180 a kilo. Vendors said more out-of-towners had been frequenting the market just to buy smoked fish.


“The promotion of tinapa by the local government and also the Pasayahan is a big boost to the product,” said one vendor. Her regular buyers come from as far as Metro Manila.

On May 26, Alcala led local officials and multisectoral representatives in a boodle fight in the city’s downtown areas with tinapa as the main dish during Pasayahan. The event culminated five days later in time for the celebration of the Feast of St. Ferdinand, patron saint of Lucena City.

Alcala said this year’s festival theme, “Kasama sa Pagusad, Kasama sa Pagunlad,” described the active partnership of the government and its people. “All projects and programs of the local government all aim to bring benefits to the community. The government should exist for the welfare and betterment of its people,” he said.

‘Festival with a cause’

Started in 1987 by the late human rights lawyer Euclides Abcede, then Lucena’s officer in charge, and Aguinaldo Miravalles, then local chief of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the festival was originally meant to help change the image of Quezon province as a haven of communist insurgency.

From its creative concept of street merrymaking like the Mardi Gras in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans, it has evolved as a “festival with a cause.”


Avila said part of this year’s proceeds from corporate sponsorships would be used to acquire several desktop computers for donation to the Reception and Action Center, which is being managed by the City Social and Welfare Development Office.

The facility on the outskirts of the city was established to help in the care, development and rehabilitation of potentially neglected and delinquent children and youngsters.

Grand parade

During the grand parade on May 28, the street dancers incorporated the native tinapa in their costumes and routines. Aside from floats from local businesses and educational institutions, the parade also featured local employees and barangay officials, and members of other sociocivic organizations.

For two weeks, Quezon Avenue, the city’s main street, was transformed ito a hawkers’ paradise with all kinds of merchandise, from school supplies to kitchenware, sold at discounted prices.

Local entrepreneurs also put up street bars that served cold beers and sizzling chows, while a stage served as venue for nightly shows and contests.

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Archie Ilagan, overall chair of the festival, said Pasayahan was able to highlight the city’s potential as another tourist destination in the province.

TAGS: Food, lucena, News, Regions, tinapa

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