Bangsi or the flying fish is considered to be Maitum’s One Town One Product (OTOP) or the town’s top produce. Around a thousand households depend on the bangsi industry, with an average annual catch of 600 tons.
The popular marinated bangsi is also the most sought after pasalubong for tourists and visitors who come to Maitum.
Every year, the townsfolk celebrate their deep gratitude to the bountiful harvest of the flying fish by holding the festival every last week of January.
Also, according to Mayor Reganit, the festival is a reminder of the people’s responsibility to preserve and protect the marine resources which give the Maitumians food and livelihood.
Highlights of the January 20-23 festivity include the Bangsiyawan street-dancing competition, pakas bangsi competition, bangsirit, lumba bugsay, sand sculpture, bangsi Masterchef, motocross competition, sugba-sugba sa kadalananan, and the long-running Maitum Photo Safari contest.
This year, more than 80 photographers from all over Mindanao gathered together to compete in the Photo Safari under three categories which are the Street Dancing, Festival and Shoot Out categories.
Mayor Reganit also thanked the photographers who helped unleash Maitum’s natural beauty and wonders through the photographs taken and posted on social media.
Maitum comes from the native dialect “maitum” which means black that pertains to the legendary black stones found in one of its four major rivers, the Saub River.
The humble town of Maitum has grown into a tourist destination for its rich and thick rainforest, unspoiled marine resources, ancient historical finds, and fun and extreme adventures.
From the 2.1km white water tubing experience in barangay New La Union, to the bat sanctuary and the archaeological finds of anthropomorphic jars in barangay Pinol, and the pawikan nesting sanctuary in barangay Kiambing, Maitum has so much to offer to anyone who comes to explore the town. (Jori Mae Samillano/SARANGANI COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE)