By Lyka Manalo
IBAAN, Batangas – It may sound like a Spanish term, but the Les KuHLiemBo stands for this town’s primary products: TamaLes, (a native delicacy), Kulambo (mosquito net), Habi (manual weaving) Liempo (grilled pork belly) and Tubo (sugarcane).
The municipality of Ibaan celebrated Monday the Les KuHLiemBo Festival and commemorated the town’s 187th founding anniversary as a way of thanksgiving to the community and for being blessed and guided by their patron, Saint James The Great.
Ibaan Mayor Juan Toreja said the festival highlighted the town, which is uniquely known from other places in Batangas province through its products such as tamales, a native delicacy made of steamed ground rice and peanuts with chicken meat wrapped in banana leaves.
He said Ibaan folk have been making tamales since the 1950s, and has been sold by local residents in places outside the town.
Ibaan was also known for the hand-woven kulambo (mosquito net), and has become a source of livelihood for many locals.
Toreja said native traders, who have transferred to other places, have made a good living out of selling kulambo.
In fact, most well-off families in the town started from mosquito net business, he said.
Toreja said that, since weaving has become part of the local culture, the government has started to revive the “habihan” method of weaving in a center located in Sitio Margarita, Barangay Munting Tubig.
The LGU has allocated funds for the building construction and equipment to revive and improve the craft in weaving blankets, shawl scarf, table cloth, bags, coin purse, among others and it has become livelihood for women in the said barangay.
Ibaan is now the only town in Batangas province with a “habihan” center.
Sugarcane plantations and piggery farms likewise become the source of income for the residents here thus the local government included the sugarcane and pork belly grilling in the festival which has been celebrated since 2014.