Monday, October 22, 2012

Dumangas 5th Haw-as Festival Promises Festivities and Fun

photo by Jose de Luna

Haw-as Festival is always the biggest event of the year in Dumangas, and the people of this historic town look forward to it all year long. It is an annual festival dedicated to community and the arts of its people.

photo by Jose de Luna
Get ready for a bountiful celebration with loads of fun, food, bands, community activities and a street dance parade and the grand tribal presentation. Haw-as Festival brings out the community and folks from the entire town. It reminds Dumangasanons of all the good things that God has given them. This makes them want to share their joy through fun-filled activities with others.

The highlight of the celebration is the dance presentation known as “Haw-as Guban,” where participating tribes depict and interpret the haw-as or fish harvest. This grand competition is scheduled on October 31 at 1 in the afternoon.

photo by Jose de Luna
Fishing has played an integral role in the life of the people of Dumangas since the earliest of times. First, it was for reasons of survival. Then, the abundant stocks shellfish in the area became a way of life. Fishing has always been one of the foundations of this town’s economy, and is its oldest organized industry. Among the fishery products are bangus, crabs, prawn and shrimps. The municipality is also rich in agricultural produce. Major agricultural products are palay, salt, sugarcane, fruits and crops.

The festival dance presentation is a simple dance and is performed to express joy. The dance is extremely simple with minimum or a repetition of steps or movement with linear formations. The dance burst with verve and vitality where men and women, dressed as fishermen or farmers perform and in some occasion, the dancers sing, while being accompanied by an instrument. Segments of the presentation have a specific costume. Other presentations bear religious overtones. Dancers carry the image of their patron saint, St. Agustin while swinging their arms and continue to dance till carried away by their devotion. At times, as the rhythm quickens, they indulge in acrobatics and even form human pyramids. While the dance presentations are constantly being improved, the choreography is evolving still to include a variety of steps and patterns. The skill and the imagination of the dances influence the performance.

photo by Jose de Luna
The multi-hued Haw-ad dance is all energy and youthfulness. On the occasion, the spirited performers representing their Gubans swarm the streets in colorful group, waving various hand props, inspiring and inviting one and all to imbibe the festive spirit.  Alongside the festival is the celebration is the 142nd Birth Anniversary of Col. Quintin Salas, this town’s local hero.

Haw-as Festival is a, occasion where you can stroll and be happy, where you can listen to music, catch up with old friends and enjoy the weeklong festival activities prepared by the organizers. The focus of the celebration is to promote unity and celebrating the talents and diversity of its community.

Dumangas is a 1st class municipality in the province of Iloilo. Politically subdivided into 45 barangays, it has a land area of 11, 677 hectares. The town is located northeast and is 30 kilometers away from Iloilo City. Almost an hour drive, Dumangas is bounded in the north by the Municipality of Barotac Nuevo, on the south and east by the Guimaras Strait and on the west by the Municipalities of Pototan and Zaraga.

To get to Dumangas, one can take an air-conditioned van at Tikod Terminal in Lapaz, or a jeepney at Tagbak Terminal in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Mr. Benny Derequito- Municipal Tourism Officer at 09477900562.

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