Laag ta sa Lanao del Norte: Stories from the Land of Beauty and Bounty
People travel because of stories — stories of the old men, and stories waiting to happen. It’s one of the reasons many fly to the Philippines. Down south, where the grandest waterfalls and beguiling mountains reign, lies Lanao Del Norte. It’s a province full of stories deserving to be heard. So here are things you should know about this travel destination.
Lanao del Norte is endowed with natural and man-made wonders where you can create exciting stories. Tinago Falls flow majestically along the Agus River. Recently, Sultan Naga Dimaporo is becoming the go-to place for water adventures like banana boat rides, floaters, and fishing. Mindanao Civic Center hosts exhilarating Motocross competitions. But the best experience happens when one attends its unique festivals. There’s Alimangohan festival where mountains of crabs are up for grabs. Then there’s Kalubihan, Sarimanok, Sagingan, and Sagayan Festivals.
Bobby & Imelda
Rifts have long been the theme of most stories in Mindanao. But here’s a proof love will always win. Years back, two prominent clans in Lanao reign. The two clans, Muslim Dimaporos and Christian Quibranzas, were fighting for power over Lanao’s vast soil. But Bobby, son of Rep. Ali Dimaporo, pursued Imelda Quibranza, who happens to have Cebuana roots, and now Lanao del Norte’s beloved incumbent Governor. The two eventually married and inspired unity among the people around them.
Today, with the help of their people, the couple is working hand in hand in advancing provincial developments. Hon. Gov. Imelda Q. Dimaporo puts herself at the forefront of agricultural development. “I believe agriculture is where the gold is. We are major suppliers of corn and copra. And a hefty number of bananas sold in Cebu are cultivated by our hardworking kababayans.” says the Governor. For this, she promotes and encourages agricultural training and assistance among them. She also is an image of peace as she believes unity paves the way for overall progress.
Lanao del Norte is home to Maranao art. A recurring motif of Maranao art is the Sarimanok. It’s a gigantic bird with colorful feathers that’s believed to roam around the south and fell in love with a princess. Thanks to the late National Artist Abdulmari Asia Imao who made tides with the Sarimanok, the Maranao art soared high. His son, the renowned artist Toym Imao, is making the Sarimanok live on through Lanao del Norte’s float entry for Sinulog 2018. “When we were planning the float, we wanted something different. [The design] serves as a visual metaphor for tying together different cultures. And it’s easy since the Sarimanok is a representation of hope, just like Sinulog.” shares the float’s designer.
Lanao del Norte has been participating in Sinulog for 11 years. When Hon. Dimaporo was asked why she said “A lot of people in Lanao are from Cebu. We want to support the festival, to show people that even if divided by religion, a province can actually be united and strengthen ties with its neighboring regions. Plus it is our promise to the Señor to keep coming back and celebrate his day.”
Speaking of birds, Lanao del Norte is slowly becoming a phoenix. Just a few weeks ago, the province was ravaged by Tropical Storm Vinta. “There are three municipalities badly affected. 170 houses were washed away in just one barangay.” shares their Governor. She is regularly in contact with officials and NGOs to provide for the needs of the victims; she also facilitates with different departments to prioritize bridge and road repairs for easier transfer of relief goods. With their hopeful spirits, Lanao del Norte is rebuilding back to normal. We will see them rise as they grace the Queen City of the South with their Maranao-inspired Sinulog float.
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