Tuesday, January 29, 2013

15th Salakayan Festival of Miagao

The annual celebration of Salakayan Festival of Miagao draws support from various organizations and groups especially those living and working abroad, inviting them to come home and re-discover the strength, talent, and beauty of their town and its people. As the community immerse themselves in the frenzied observance of their 297th town fiesta this year, the celebration will highlight the 15th Salakayan Festival with the theme, “Saulugon: Dugong Miagawanon” on February 2 -10 with the much-anticipated tribe competition on February 9 (Saturday) at 8 a.m.
Taken from the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack,” the tribe competition remains as the favorite of all special events during the 9-day long celebration. It gathers the largest crowds of spectators year after year, from its farthest Barangay, to witness their favorite tribe perform.

The dance-drama competition is marked by the dramatic presentation as interpreted by groups through dance as it trace back the historic battle that took place in the town where the locals successfully defended their town from the attack of the barbaric Sulu pirates in May 7, 1754.

Spanish chroniclers have recorded major slave raids that engulfed the coastal communities especially in the Visayas where men, women and children were captured and sold in Sulu and Java to work in the fields; bartered off to merchants for other Asian markets; some were used as household retainers others as rowers of pirate vessels.

Ancestral settlement near the sea became the objects of frequent Moro raids. Pirates attacked and enslaved Christian-Filipinos. Their invasions left tracks of death, blood, and ashes. The peaceful community of Miag-ao was not spared from these raids that resulted to the burning of the original church that was situated at that time in Barangay Ubos.

Along with the tribal dance competition is a special procession of the Gigantes or towering figures that commonly depict archetypes of the town, such as historical figures of local relevance. The festival is an opportunity for the people to pay tribute to their cultural roots

The Higantes is another feature of the festival tradition. Mammoth papier mache figures rising from 10-15 feet in height with bodies in large bamboo or  wire cages, draped in yards of colorful cloth. A man slips under each giant, holding up its torso with a metal or bamboo pole to make it walk, seeing his way through an eyehole somewhere in the giant’s clothes. The Higantes are crowd-drawers of the tribal dance competition.

The municipality of Miagao is 40.5 kilometers south from Iloilo City. It is bounded by the towns of Igbaras to the northeast, by Guimbal to the east, by San Joaquin to the west and by the municipality of Sibalom in the province of Antique to the northwest. It is comprised of 199 barangays sharing a land area of 13,286 hectares. To get to the town, 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.

If you are holidaying Iloilo, enjoy some day excursions to the different attractions of this historic town. For more information, please contact, Mr. Edison Molanida-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09206995881.

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