Lake Lanao in Lanao de Sur has a scenic coastline that is sure to take your breath away. Several towns line the coast and most of them are fourth class municipalities. Due to their geographic location, the atmosphere is always serene and bucolic. Residents live a laid-back lifestyle, and the climate is often comfortably cool.
But it’s this town called Ganassi that stands out. Its location is dramatic – ensconced on hilly terrain, it offers a panoramic view of the lake. Furthermore, it’s in a cove which makes the town’s surroundings look much more picturesque. Like the other towns along the lake, Ganassi is so tranquil, it’s a haven for those who wish to get away from the city, and other crowded tourist destinations.
Ganassi Mayor Al -Rashid Macapodi wants other Filipinos to experience the life he and his fellow townsfolk have been enjoying in their hometown. He wants to show how peaceful his town is; and despite the modern conveniences that can now be had, it remains faithful to old traditions.
Mayor Macapodi is only 43 but he is cognizant of the importance of preserving the Meranao heritage, which is the dominant culture of Ganassi. He makes sure that on important Muslim holidays, stunning traditional costumes are worn, old recipes are used to prepare the dishes of Meranao, and the “Kakulintang” of the Meranaos are practiced for every youth of Ganassi and for local tourists to learn and benefit from. Meranao dishes must always be served for the feasts, popularly known as Paganao Meranaw, which means warm welcome and hospitality in our own way.
While the Mayor may be steeped in tradition, he’s also open to activities that are relatively newer. Being a coastal town, he wants Ganassi to be Lanao del Sur’s water sports haven to attract more tourists. In 2016, the town hosted a dragon boat festival, which attracted teams from all over the country.
“Ganassi is ideal for all kinds of water sports because we’re located in a cove. In fact, we’re the only coastal town along Lake Lanao that is located in a cove” – Ganassi Mayor Al -Rashid Macapodi.
Those who aren’t much into water sports would not be left out. The town offers a lot for others to explore. Trekkers can tour the verdant hills and be amazed by the majestic 360-degree view of the lake. This isn’t unlike the scenery that tourists enjoy in Batanes.
The mayor assures that his town is safe for trekkers and backpackers. It’s so quiet and everyone in town is sure to make guests feel welcome, and visitors will enjoy their unique brand of hospitality.