Tuesday, December 11, 2012

BAYLUHAY in San Joaquin: A Re-enactment in the Tradition of Those before Us

Some people are content to learning about their local history in books. While others are naturally drawn back to simpler times and the way life was lived centuries ago with a desire to relive important eras in their local history.

As the historic town of San Joaquin celebrates its local history and the Ilonggos rediscovers its heritage of that era, the re-enactment of Bayluhay continues to move forward.

San Joaquin, known to be one of the oldest municipalities of Iloilo Province, with a very significant historical background is dedicated to keeping our local history alive and in the public eye and to honor our ancestors.

The municipal government of San Joaquin has brought history to life as an educational hobby, providing its community and the public with an authentic, safe time machine to the historic landing of the 10 Bornean Datus, using authentic costumes, and props. Many of the performers create a "persona," or historical character, and develop a backstory for their persona to share with visitors.

The Barter of Panay became the point of origin of San Joaquin’s history and its first common culture. Researches on the Barter of Panay’s history would reveal that it started sometime in 1212 when the 10 Bornean datus, led by Datu Puti, along with their loyal subjects, boarded several baeangays to escaped the tyranny of their Bornean King, Sultan Makatunaw. They landed in the mouth of the Siwaragan River in San Joaquin.

Ati chieftain Marikudo and Bornean leader Datu Puti made a peace pact after several cordial gifts from the Borneans, a golden salakot and manangyad (a golden necklace believed to have reached the ground when worn in the neck) for the ati chieftain’s wife, Maniwangtiwang, and other valuables. In exchange, Pinangpangan, wife of Datu Puti with the nine other datus, namely Sumakwel, Dumangsil, Lubay, Balkasua, Bangkaya, Paiburong, Dumangsul, Dumalugdog and Paduhinog, and their respective wives and subordinates, were then allowed to settle in the lowlands. A glorious celebration followed.

The re-enactment of the Bayluhay has been happening annually. It will be celebrated this year on December 14 at 3 p.m. and will be hosted at the municipal grounds. This festival activity spans only for a day.

The re-enactment is a tool to generate interest in the Ilonggo community to spark the desire to learn more about its local history. It is a way for the people of Iloilo to connect, on a live and physical level, with the events of its past that have made us what we are today.  As a society, as a people, we cannot determine where we are going if we do not know where we have been.

If someone in Iloilo walks away from the re-enactment of Bayluhay with a desire to go to their libraries, or to get on the internet and learn more, then the re-enactment has served its purpose ... it educated the Ilonggo to learn more.

To get to San Joaquin, one can take a jeepney at Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. For more information, please contact Mrs. Erlyn Alunan, Municipal Tourism Officer at 09179857804.


  1. Sir Marin, may I borrow some of you photos during the Bayluhay? We are going to use them in the presentation of our research proposal, entitled "Hearing Acuity of Student Drummers in the 2014 Dinagyang Festival." Thank you!

  2. yes please, by all means if i could be of any help, let me know, 09205603018


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