This city’s “Indigay sa Lechon” or roasted pig festival was back after two years of absence due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Indigay sa Lechon, which was launched in 2010, was held anew last September 20 as part of the celebrations of the city’s Dyandi Festival, which will culminate on September 29. The Diyandi Festival is held in honor of St. Michael Archangel, the city’s patron saint. Mayor Frederick Siao said that Iligan takes pride of its lechon baboy or roasted pig because of its distinct taste. Jaime’s Lechon House won this year’s grand prize for the “tastiest lechon” contest. Marc James Abitago, grandson of Jaime Abitago who founded Jaime’s Lechon in 1965, said their secret for a tasty lechon is “cooking it by heart.” “Our grandfather and grandmother thought us to prepare it like that. Especially for customers who could afford to buy only by kilos, we want them to taste our lechon’s superb taste so that their money would not be wasted,” the younger Abitago said. Abitago said they joined the Indigay sa Lechon as a tribute to their grandmother who passed away in 2020 due to COVID-19. “We dedicate this win for her,” he added. For the best tasting lechon, Jaime’s Lechon bagged the top prize of P15,000, followed by Eljea’s Food House with P10,000, and Lalang’s Lechon House with P8,000. For the most beautiful booth, Eljea’s was the top winner with P15,000 prize, followed by Ekay’s Lechon with P8,000 and Jaime’s Lechon with P5,000. There were 10 lechon houses that participated in the contest. Councilor Marlene Young said that she is glad that Indigay sa Lechon was back after an absence of two years. “Iligan City’s lechon is one of the best in the country. I can still remember when we started the first ever Indigay sa Lechon way back in 2010. I am beyond grateful for everyone’s support and participation in bringing it back,” she said. She said that like Cebu lechon, Iligan lechon “does not need any sauce for you to appreciate the meat.” “The only edge of Cebu lechon is that it is marketed well with a good packaging,” Young said. Cebu also offers chili-flavored roasted pig. Young said the skin of Iligan lechon is known “to stay crispy even if it is shipped to Manila.” Usually, the Iligan lechon is laced with a mix of tanglad (lemon grass), atsal (bell peppers), ahos (garlic), onion bulbs and leaves, laurel leaves, and iodized salt. (Marivic Omandam Davis / MindaNews)