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Reliving the past was the highlight of the recent Agal-Agal Festival in the province of Tawi-Tawi in Mindanao.
Dubbed as the “Seaweeds Capital of the Philippines” and “Carrageenan Capital of the World”, the province celebrates the Agal-Agal (Seaweed) Festival every 25th of September.
It was the main event in this year’s 44th Kamahardikaan sin Tawi-Tawi or the southern province’s founding anniversary, held in the town Languyan, some 55 kilometers from the capital Bongao.
The celebration honors the bounties of the sea, especially seaweed, the top source of livelihood in the province.
The festival features a street dance, igal ma lan, competition, that include performances portraying a fisherman’s process of catching catfish, locally known as tawti, and seaweed farming.
The event also showcases traditional dances like the tawti, kuntaw, silat, and more—putting the spotlight on the cultural practices and traditions of the people of Tawi-Tawi -- the Sama, Sama Dilaut, Jama Mapun, and Tausug.More than the extravagant display of costumes and props and spectacular choreography, the festival is a time to reflect on the history and struggles of their ancestors, who trusted in nothing but the wisdom of the sea to guide them.