Monday, January 2, 2012

BINANOG Festival of Lambunao: Capturing the Beauty Of a Culture Rarely Glimpsed

photo by Jun Fuerte

The municipality of Lambunao will be celebrating its 10th BINANOG Festival. The celebration has spread its influence to greater heights, attracting visitors from neighboring towns and provinces. It is celebrated annually, enthralling its visitors with a lasting impression of the town’s rich history, legacy and culture.

Recent years have seen a growing interest in indigenous arts in Iloilo. Local communities make effort to promote their tribal culture especially through songs and dances that mostly tell stories about the culture of their people and have long played a central role in the life of the Ilonggos, with each ethnicity developing its own distinct artistic styles. These have been passed on years after years, generation after generation, and they are just as important to our people today as they were when they were first performed.

photo by Jun Fuerte

The indigenous people of the Lambunao, the Bukidnons, occupy the higher mountain areas of the municipality. They live in small disconnected settlements and have retained their own culture, their own unique forms of dance and music, which they have preserved through the ages, surviving through years of colonial invasions. The variety and richness of the dances are enhanced by colorful costumes and complex gong-bamboo musical accompaniment. Lambunao highlight their most highly developed art---its binanog dance through the annual celebration of Binanog Festival.

photo by Jun Fuerte

The celebration is an integral part of the customs and traditions of the Bukidnons. It celebrates the pulsating music and the vibrant dance of the native Lambunaonons The dance may be either in a form of a celebration known as the Inagong Sayaw-Sayaw or Dinagmay--- a courtship dance. It depicts the coupling mechanism of banog birds (dapay or hawk) to the symbolic beating of a gong that synchronizes the pulsating movements of the feet and hands of the male and female dancers. It reaches climax as the female dancer catches her male partner using a long piece of cloth wrapped in her waist.

Binanog Festival has grown over the years to become an annual tradition for the people of Iloilo. The binanog dance is a traditional dance like the dances of indigenous people rather than a theatrical performance as shown in other festivals. The celebration brings the soul of the Bukidnons to the limelight. It celebrates love and the spirit of its people.

photo b Jun Fuerte

The richly colorful music, costumes and movement of Binanog is the glory of Lambunao.

With this year’s theme: “Binanog, Bugal nga Dunang Manggad kag Kultura ang Lambunaonon,” the people of Lambunao through their dynamic municipal mayor, Hon. Reynor R.Gonzales is inviting everyone to come and celebrate with them the 10th BINANOG Festival on January 7-8, 2012 with the highlight performances of participating groups on the last day at 1 p.m.

Lambunao is 48-kilometer or an hour leisure trip by either van or bus from the terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City.

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