Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Salakayan: Preserving, Sharing and Promoting Miagao’s History

Miagao, Iloilo will celebrate its 302nd Foundation Anniversary alongside its annual Salakayan Festival on February 4-11, 2017. Salakayan rivals other provinces’ for its colour and creativity. Fancy period costumes, giant papier-maches and community spirit enliven the first week of Arts Month.

Now in its 20th year, the celebration is the town’s way of thanking and remembering the heroism of their ancestors. It gives everyone with an interest in history the chance to witness historical events interpreted thru dance-drama. It has quickly become a cultural gem for the provincial calendar. With a diverse, family-friendly focus, the festival will stage an eclectic range of events and activities throughout the eight-day celebration.

With this year’s theme, “Kasaysayan kag Kutura kang Miagao: Sa Salakayan kag Hablon aton Makit-an!’ the festival has prepared series of special events starting February 4 (Sunday) at 6 p.m., Soft Opening of Food Fair at the Miagao Town Plaza with the MVS Batch 68 Golden Alumni Homecoming and Jubilarians Night at the Miagao Town Plaza at 6:30 p.m.; February 5 (Monday) Pamukaw at 5 a.m., Salakayan Mass at 9 a.m., Opening of Agro-Trade Fair at 10 a.m., Opening Salvo Street Dancing Competition at 2 p.m., Opening of Food Fair at 5 p.m., Salakayan Re-enactment at 6 p.m., and Live Band at 7 p.m.;  February 6 (Tuesday) Cavalcade of Dances at 2 p.m., Zumba Festival at 5 p.m., MCES Alumni Night at 6:30 p.m.

February 7 (Wednesday) Laro ng Lahi at 10:30 a.m., Search for Miss Salakayan 2018 at 7 p.m.; February 8 (Thursday) Miagao Arts Competition at 10 a.m. till 3 p.m., Balikbanwa Night at 7 p.m.; February 9 (Friday) Mass and Fluvial Parade at 8 a.m., Cultural Show: Sleeping Beauty at 12 noon; Games at Sea at 10:30 a.m., Higante Contest at 4 p.m., Liga Night at 7 p.m.; February 10 (Saturday) Salakayan Tribe Competition at 8 a.m., Car Show at 1 p.m., Float Parade at 3 p.m., Tribes’ Night at 7 p.m.; February 11 (Sunday) Mass at 7:15 a.m., Motorcross at 8 a.m., Agape at 8:30 a.m., Car Show at 1 p.m., Coronation of the Queen of Miagao 2018 at 9 p.m.

The local government headed by the very active and tourism-oriented Mayor, Hon. Macario Napulan works hard to preserve, share and promote Miagao’s heritage. It is part of the organizer’s commitment to build awareness of the festivity as the memory of the town and encouraging interest in the history of Miagao and beyond.

A special feature of the presentation are the literally “giants and big heads,” are a common sight at the celebration. They parade through the streets, the giants representing traditional or historical figures and the big heads even tease children and at times chase them. A giant’s costume can be up to thirteen feet tall, draped on a frame sitting on a dancer’s shoulders, and big heads are worn over a costume, covering the face and torso. All performers wear elaborately designed papier-mâché heads.

Taken from the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack,” the core of the celebration is based on a locally famous battle fought in May 7, 1754. Every year the citizens remember their victorious liberation against the Muslim pirates with their constant piratical activities and slave-hunting expeditions in the area. The storyline is the base of the individual performances during the annual tribe competition that will take centre stage on February 10 (Saturday) at 8 a.m.

Approximately 40.5 kilometers or an hour ride south from the city is the scenic town of Miagao,  bounded by the town of Igbaras in the northeast; by Guimbal in the east; by San Joaquin in the west; and, by the municipality of Sibalom in the province of Antique in the northwest. It has a land area of 13,286 hectares politically subdivided into 199 barangays.

To get to Miagao, one can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. Metered taxis are also available at the terminal. For more information, please contact, Anthony Selorio-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09391737407.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay: A Festival with an Authentic Ilonggo Spirit

Calinog, Iloilo will celebrate its Hirinugyaw – Suguidanonay Festival, an ever-popular fixture on the local festival circuit in the province from January 26 till February 4, 2017. It is an event that attracts visitors from all over the province who are looking for an authentic festival experience.

With the theme, “Hugyaw Calinog: Pagtu-o kay Senor Sto. Nino Pagahimpiton, Turismo Pasanyugon agud Banwa Mainuswagon,” the festival will highlight the vibrant colour, lively music and the town’s strong cultural ties with its Panay Bukidnon or Sulodnon indigenous group of almost 13 barangays.

The town plays a very important role in the culture of the Ilonggos, and while most of the population have adopted the traditions that were brought to the area by the Spanish conquistadors, there is also an indigenous culture to be found in its upland barangays. One of the interesting aspects is that in the case is the annual Hirinugyaw – Suguidanonay Festival celebrated annually with a combination of Catholic Christian and indigenous religious beliefs.

Inspired from what is known to be one of the longest epic in the world, Hinilawod translated in English as “Tales from the Mouth of the Halawod River,” is an folk epic poem written by the early inhabitants from the Panay Bukidnon tribe. This 8,340-verse epic is transferred orally from one generation to the next through chanting, locally known as Suguidanon. And when performed in its original form would take about three days, making it a literary masterpiece.

The epic poem is also very good source of information about the Sulodnons’ culture, religion and rituals and is depicted annually in chapters assigned during the Suguidanon presentation of the annual festival. This year, tribes will perform Balankon, a two-headed monster, the guardian of the ridge where his beloved, Lubay-Lubyok Hanginon si Mahuyokhuyokan lives and is narrated in the epic under the Adventures of Dumalapdap.

The second part of the tribal dance presentation is the Hirinugyaw where, just like the city’s Dinagyang celebration performance, it anchors on the religious aspect, the Holy Child Jesus is honoured in thunderous drumbeats and colourful costumes. Dancers move out in fast-paced, rhythmic steps, with voluble shouts of joy. Hirinugyaw is from a Hiligaynon word hugyaw that means to cheer.

The festival tribal dance competition takes place in the weekend after the city’s Dinagyang event, February 4 (Sunday) at 8 a.m. is considered without a doubt, the largest, most enjoyable and one of the more famous and authentic of all held in in the province.

The grand displays performed by each tribe in traditional dress have proved to be very popular among visitors, while there is also plenty of chance to share in local traditional food. Guests who will visit the scenic town of Calinog during the Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival would be privileged, and to share the celebration makes for a very special reason to be there.

Calinog is a First-Class municipality situated in the central portion of the province, bounded in the north by the municipality of Tapaz, Capiz; northeast by the municipality of Bingawan, Iloilo; northeast by the municipality of San Remegio, Antique; south by the town of Lambunao, Iloilo; southeast by the municipality of Dueńas, Iloilo and; southwest by the town of Valderama, Antique. The town is 59.3 kilometers away or an hour and 20-minute drive from Iloilo City. Politically subdivided into 59 barangays, it has a land area of 3,280 hectares.

To get to the town, one can take a non-air-conditioned bus at the terminal beside Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines plant in Ungka, Pavia. For more information, please contact Chester Larroder – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09159781887.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrating SAAD with Immense Faith

Leganes, Iloilo celebrates their festival on the 25th January well connected to their Patron Saint and His believers with the immense passion, big enthusiasm and fun filled activities. The whole community becomes involve in the celebration, marking the birth of their beloved religious icon, St. Vincent Ferrer. 

His feast day holds lots of religious importance for the Christians and is celebrated with great fervour. The entire community do feasts, prayers and processions while observing His festivity. 

Saad, a Hiligaynon word for a “solemn vow,” where the faithful congregate during the festivity’s Mass is an attraction. Devotees are from far south and far north of the province. There are also believers coming in from other neighboring provinces.

Devotees flood to the church to offer their prayers to ask God that San Vicente will help them in their problems. After the Mass, the faithful would then undergo the Palapak, a ritual where devotees would line up while a small statue of the image of the saint is pressed on their heads or on the part of the body needing help believing that a spiritual cure will happen. Those who entrusted their faith through the saint are hopeful that what they have asked for, mostly to be healed from their illnesses will be granted. This had been a cultural religious practice since then.

Leganesnons express their devotion to St. Vincent Ferrer through music and dance with the much-anticipated competition on January 25 at 5p.m. They use the Saad Dance-Drama presentation to represent their beliefs in honouring the “Angel of Healing,” St. Vincent Ferrer because of his gift to cure the sick.

Saad dance combines rectilinear and circular movements that may also include hopping, jumping, and hand movements. Hand movements are widely used in many liturgical actions of the dance such as the touching of holy objects and their accompanying prayers and blessings.  The raising of hands in prayer, kneeling as an expression of humility, and the bow as an intimated genuflection generally indicates respect. The gesture of blessing may imitate a symbolic form, such as that of the Holy Cross.

Symbolism plays a big role in the dance presentation, and Leganesnons chose to reflect that symbolism through their various dance routines and presentations. The Palapak is also re-enacted into the dance choreography.

Much of the music has a definite local flavour using a medley of old Hiligaynon favourites where dancers in traditional Filipino costumes and wearing  scapulars dance with joy to praise their patron and ends with shouts of "San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!"

Leganes is a Fourth Class municipality in the Second Congressional District of the province. It borders the city of Iloilo in the south; Pavia in the southeast; Santa Barbara in the west and, Zarraga in the north. Approximately 11 kilometers or a 30-minute drive north from the city, it is politically sub-divided into 18 coastal and agricultural barangays over a land area of 3, 216 hectares.

To get to Leganes, visitors can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza. For more information, please contact Jerry Anas – Municipal Tourism Officer or email at (033) 3296622 local 114 or email at lgu_leganes@yahoo.com.ph/ anas.jerry@yahoo.com.ph

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bayluhay: A Beautiful Expression of San Joaquin’s Unique Character

San Joaquin, Iloilo, already renowned for its strong cultural ties, its vivacious colours and lively music, Bayluhay tend to pull out all the stops when it comes to festivals. From days of traditional bull fighting and special events, the town immerses its visitors to its rich local culture, a beautiful expression of the town’s unique character.

Bayluhay, to be set this year on January 18 (Thursday) at 2 p.m. draws on diverse cultural traditions. It showcases a mixture of indigenous rituals and local traditions and customs. These include the native culture of the Borneans that inhabited the area prior to the arrival of the Spanish whose presence derives from a long history of Christianization.

Bayluhay, coined from the Hiligaynon word Baylo meaning to barter or to exchange is an annual tribal dance competition that highlights the folk history of the re-enactment of the historic barter based on the Maragtas Legend. It was said that sometime between the 13th and 15th century, ten Shri-Vijayan Datus led by the Sultanate Minister Datu Puti, together with Datus Bangkaya, Dumalugdog,  Sumakwel, Lubay, Paiburong, Dumangsil, Balensusa, Paduhinog and Dumangsol, along with their families and followers boarded their balangays or boats and sailed across the Sulu Sea on their quest for the Promise Land.

The group skirted to the southern tip of the island of Panay and landed in Siruanga (Siwaragan River in San Joaquin) where they met the Ati (Aeta) Chieftain Marikudo and his wife Maniwantiwang. They had peaceful intentions with the natives, and later entered into a trade alliance and negotiated the purchase of Panay Island. The Borneans bartered the lowlands, plains and valleys for a golden Salakot and a Manangyad or golden necklace said to have touched the ground. After the transaction was sealed, the Atis were believed to have retired to the mountains and the Malay took complete control of the lowlands.

The performance also explores on the rich ancient rituals practised by our early ancestors who believe that Spirits dwell in many natural features such as trees, rivers and mountains that is why various forms of offerings were made to appease the spirits. Places where malign spirits were believed to dwell were avoided. The preservation of these traditions were observed spirituality and in their communal way of life.

Bayluhay is San Joaquin’s annual appreciation and recognition of its historic past. Every Ilonggo must celebrate it to honour our rich culture and tradition. It is our way to connect to our past that had made us what we are today. 

San Joaquin is a Second Class municipality, the last town south of the province. It is 85- kilometer away or an hour and twenty minute drive from the city. With a total land area of 23,135 hectares, the town is subdivided into 85 barangays.

To get to San Joaquin, visitors can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo or at the market terminal along Mabini St. in Iloilo City. Metered taxis are also available. For more information, please contact Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09085129189.

Celebrating History and Culture with San Joaquin’s Pasungay

San Joaquin, Iloilo, as a grand opening salvo for its Religious Fiesta, thousands of people will descend on this historic town keen to be spectators of the annual Pasungay---carabao or water buffalo fight held as part of an ancient tradition celebrated every 3rd Saturday of January.

This annual action-packed cultural event at the San Joaquin Sports Stadium situated at the back of the Municipal Hall draws in local and foreign visitors yearly to witness bulls pitted against each other.

Huge crowd watch in awe and cheers as breeders lead their mighty and robust carabaos into the fight arena.  The first fight starts as the pair, itching to fight, attack, locking each other’s horns and trying to push each other until one gives up and flee from the pursuing winner. Another pair takes their place. A horse fight or Pahibag is an added attraction as horses kick and bite each other to submission in front of a mare, or female horse, displayed purposely to trigger the fight.

The fight normally goes on for less than half an hour until one or the other collapses or is simply too exhausted to continue.

The participating animals were from cattle breeders mostly from the upland barangays, renowned for rearing tough bulls responsible for most wins in the history of this cultural celebration. Although less violent than its foreign counterpart, the animals in the Pasungay are not killed or seriously injured.

Whether you like it or not - agree with it or despise it - bullfighting exists in San Joaquin and is an important part of their history and culture. The town has always been famous for its Pasungay. There is no other place in the region where bullfighting is observed. It is the most common thing associated with San Joaquin, and rightly so for its origins date back to early 1900s. It is only during the religious fiesta celebration of the town that the general interest for Pasungay and Pahibag is aroused. During the next days, a huge festival happens of this town. Locals and visitors mix in the town streets for the annual Bayluhay Festival.

San Joaquin is a Second Class municipality, the last town south of the province. It is 85- kilometer away or an hour and twenty minute drive from the city. With a total land area of 23,135 hectares, the town is subdivided into 85 barangays.

To get to San Joaquin, visitors can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo or at the market terminal along Mabini St. in Iloilo City. Metered taxis are also available. For more information, please contact Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09085129189.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Safeguarding Local Traditions Through Tultugan

Maasin, Iloilo will celebrate Tultugan Festival on December 20 - 29, 2017. A festival dedicated principally to bamboo and its many uses, the ceneterpiece of the celebration is the tribal dance competition scheduled on December 28 at 1 p.m.

The festival performances usually depicting the local culture is a perfect platform to display new creative ways of utilizing bamboo, a widely available material that has been used for centuries in the archipelago, into modern-looking and aesthetically appealing functional products. Different approaches are applied to the transformation and development of various bamboo-based products incorporated in the presentation.

The festival costume, prop and musical instruments are all made of or at least inspired by bamboo and it is the municipality’s way of keeping various valuable traditions alive by connecting them to the festival to ensure and safeguard its sustainability for future generations.

In addition to seeing and hearing unique dance and music performances, attendees will be able to engage in activities such as the daily food festival which opened in December 20 and the coronation of Tultugan Festival Queen on the 29th of December.

Tultugan is a native bamboo percussion instrument used by natives of long ago as a tool for communication and as a musical instrument. Tultugan is a root word of tultug which has been defined as an action verbalizing the act of playing sound on bamboo. Usually this is rendered through a bamboo stick striking it against the body of the bamboo, thus becoming a rhythmic instrument called Tultugan.

Tultugan festival aims to promote its local bamboo industry highlighting its significance and importance in the lives of the people in the community. It also showcases Maasin’s rich natural environment with spectacular bamboo landscapes for people to get to know its main local industry and local artisans. The festivity also promotes its various natural products and social enterprises that protect and promote some of its best assets: natural landscapes and traditional skills.

The town of Maasin has long been known as the center of bamboo in Iloilo. Situated almost 26 kilometers west central from the city center, the place has been a major supplier of bamboo and its various handicrafts for local demand, in fact, some of the items are exported internationally.

The local government unit headed by the very dynamic mayor, Hon. Mariano M. Malones, teachers and local artists have the big challenge and vital role of assisting the transformation of traditions

Known as some of the fastest-growing plants in the world, the bamboo is a kind of grass. It is commonly known as woody grass and can be harvested after three years. There are about 1,200 bamboo species.

Bamboo has many uses. Many Filipino uses bamboo as material for house building, decorations, baskets, furniture, toothpicks, lampshades, fruit tray, flower vases, “kisame,” placemat and many more.

Iloilo is positioned to be center of bamboo production in the Philippines with an abundant supply of bamboo poles, mostly the variety of Kawayan tinik. More than 2 million poles produced yearly.

Maasin is a 3rd Class municipality belonging to the 3rd Congressional District of the province. Comprised of 50 barangays over its 17,110 hectare land area, the town borders the Municipality of Janiuay in the northeast; the Municipality of Cabatuan in the east, in the south by the Municipality of Alimodian and in the northwestern by the mountain ranges of the Province of Antique.

To get to Maasin, one can take a jeepney ride at the Transport Terminal in front of Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Jestine Casio – Municipal Tourism Officer at (033) 3330299 or email at tultugan@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Helping Sustaining a Healthy Community Through Farm Schools

The area around the town of Bingawan, the edge of the central portion of the province is where it ends and the town of Tapaz, Capiz province begins and is very much another unsung corner of Iloilo with warm, friendly, welcoming people.

Bingawan has some rich farming land and farming is at the heart of its village life. The landscapes are gorgeous here; with gentle pastures, to the high mountains. The area offers some beautiful hikes and bike trails across its lovely rolling meadows, woodland and a few working farms. The town would be less touristic than its neighboring towns but is well worth exploring.

If you are concerned about how organic can contribute to benefit our shared environment, promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved, then a trip to Connie Carillo Diversified Farm is for you.

With the governments’ efforts to improve the knowledge and technical skills of the farmers, the Connie Carillo Diversified Farm in Barangay Cairohan, for example is an extension outreach center of KRYZ Vocational and Technical School, Inc. (KVTS) that envisions as a center of livelihood training programs for the realization of our country’s goal towards economic development. It was established to provide livelihood skills, trends, ideas, opportunities, market and entrepreneurial endeavours, preparing trainees with necessary knowledge, appropriate skills and proper work ethics to become responsible entrepreneurs.

The training farm school being the only service provider in Region Vi accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) has benefited farm associations and Day Care and Primary School in the barangay.

Mrs. Connie Carillo with students

The farm facilitates the development of farmers and youth through the ladderized course approach. Connie Carillo Diversified Farm serve as a mentor that assists them in learning by doing farm processes to prepare them as future farm managers and agripreneurs. The farm is also a success in helping small farmers in the community by imparting them farm technologies and knowledge.

A 3-Day Sustainable and Agriculture and Livelihood Trainings is conducted that include Banana, Pineapple, Ginger, Coconut, Stevia, Cassava, Turmeric, Sweet Potato and Squash Production and Processing, Culinary Herb Processing, Vermi Composting and Processing, Organic Fertilizer Production, Organic Feed Formulation, Refreshing Organic Herbs Processing, Infused Vinegar, Duck Raising and Processing, native Chicken Production and Processing and Hito Fattening for Business.

The courses will give you a chance to experience the joy of working with living, organic soils and crops, as well as understanding the principles and practices behind the method of maintaining them. All course topics will be covered both theoretically and experientially. You will also have an opportunity to meet and interact with local growers and farmers who have dedicated their lives to organic production methods.

Many people associate the topic of tourism with overcrowded, chaotic attractions that result in communities that are overrun with tourists. These images can discourage our farmers and other small entrepreneurs from considering Farmtourism as a method of enhancing agriculture revenues. However, the best way to view Farmtourism is to see it much like ecotourism in that it is often low impact, small scale, and education focused.

The learnings available at the KRYZ Vocational and Technical School, Inc and Connie Carillo Diversified Farm are very broad and can be tailored to fit each individual farm or farmer situation. Because most farms in Iloilo are operated by small landowners, there is great opportunity for customization and uniqueness in Farmtourism attractions.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Connie Carillo at 09089289284 or Mr. Sancho Carillo at 09072365960 or Dennis Lampon at 09777152007.

Salakayan: Preserving, Sharing and Promoting Miagao’s History

Miagao, Iloilo will celebrate its 302nd Foundation Anniversary alongside its annual Salakayan Festival on February 4-11, 2017. Salaka...