Lubid Festival – celebration showcasing abaca hemp

Lubid Festival (July 1-15) seeks to promote abaca and the town’s other products in the country and abroad. Malilipot traces its history to the expedition of Juan de Salcedo in 1573 and the colonization of Albay Bay, now called Albay, with 120 soldiers and guides. During these period, towns were established. Libon was founded in 1573, Polangui in 1589, Oas in 1587, and Malinao in 1600. Other municipalities were established in succession. A story alleged that the Spanish colonizers reached this new settlement in the month of December. The weather was so cold that the Spaniards exclaimed “muy frio” which the natives interpreted as “Malilipot” meaning “very cold”.

The streets of Malilipot became a living display of the many forms that the town’s most famous product, abaca, can take a giant chair, a giant jar, a giant gown. Abaca was unmistakably the star of the show as the town celebrated its Lubid (Rope) Festival. A weeklong celebration showcasing abaca hemp – locally known as lubid which the municipality is known to be the region’s major producer; its many uses and importance as a major source of livelihood of the local community. Various activities are lined up highlighted by street parade where participants are colorfully dressed in abaca costumes.

Melvin Estacion, 46, a resident of Barangay San Francisco, said the festival offers a respite from the stress that handicraft and abaca twine makers go through. “This is our life. By making lubid products, we are able to cope with hand-to-mouth daily existence, so I’m very thankful that the abaca industry is revived,” he said. Estacion, however, expressed concern over the future of the abaca industry as the number of plantations is decreasing and some are being taken over by “kaingin” or slash-and-burn farming. To sustain the supply of abaca, Estacion said village officials are discouraging farmers from practicing kaingin and instead plant more abaca.

LubidFestival, #ophirph

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