Monday, April 22, 2013

11th KATAGMAN Festival in Oton




The oldest municipality in Panay, Oton, Iloilo will celebrate its rich and historical and cultural heritage through its Katagman Festival from April 28-May 3, 2013. With the theme, “Ogtong Padulong sa Kauswagan, Kasaysayan Aton Tipigan,” the 11th Katagman Festival alongside the town’s 441st Foundation Day celebration opens on April 28 (Sunday) with the Opening of the Agri Fair, Garden Show and the One-Barangay-One –Product at the Municipal Grounds and the Coronation Night of Hiyas Sang Katagman, 7 p.m. at the town Plaza.

April 29 (Monday) features a Jobs Fair, 8 a.m. at the Heritage Lagoon, Frasorities Day at Katagman Beach, 8 a.m., and the Search for Ginoong Erpat and Ginang Ermat at 6:30 p.m., Oton Plaza; April 30 (Tuesday) with Borador sa Katagman at 7 a.m., Barangay Trapiche, Lampirong Diving Contest at 7 a.m., Fishport, Awarding of Outstanding Ogtonganons and Young Achievers at 7 p.m., Oton Plaza, and the SKMF Dance Craze at 8 p.m., Oton Plaza.

May 1 (Wednesday) Iloilo-Batiano Eco Walk at 5:30 a.m., Oton Plaza (take-off), Porma Balas at 7:30 a.m., Fishport, Motorboat Race at 7:30 a.m., Fishport, Lampirong Shelling and Eating Contest at 7:30 a.m. Fishport, On-the-Spot Painting Contest at 8a.m., Heritage Lagoon and Zumbra I (tattoo/ Motorshow Contest with Rap and Band Performances at 1 p.m., Multi-Purpose Gym;  May 2 (Thursday) with FITS Day, 8 a.m., Municipal Grounds, Laro ng Lahi at 8 a.m., Municipal Grounds and Basketball Exhibition Games at 3 p.m., Multi- Purpose Gym; May 3 (Friday) Unveiling of Bayan ng Oton Marker at 3 p.m., Street Dancing Competition at 4 p.m., Oton Plaza and the Music, Dance and Theater Competition at 6 p.m., Oton Plaza.


After Cebu and Manila, Oton was established in 1572 by the Augustinian Friars and became the center of Spanish administration in Iloilo. Once known as Ogtong or reef or tidal flat which is the main feature of the area, Oton was a missionary base for the conversion of the entire region.


Oton was once a center of trade route. Prosperity brought about a flourishing community, and so many examples of the early Chinese wares were obtained from the area that it is necessary to explain shortly that Chinese settlers in the area practiced ancient Chinese customs even in the disposal of the remains of their dead. The town became home to several burial rites where gold artifacts, porcelain and carnelian beads where among the rare items recovered.

A rare Chinese burial gold leaf mask, one of the oldest objects found in Barangay San Antonio, was excavated in the 1960s by Alfredo Evangelista and F. Landa Jocano. The gold leaf mask was to cover the eyes of the dead with its cone-shaped gold cover for the nose. The golden mask has now become the symbol of Katagman Festival and is used as an important prop to the theatrical and dance performances.

In the last 11 years the Katagman Festival of Oton has become firmly established as a major fixture on the local festival calendar, attracting many spectators. The festival has something for everyone, especially for visitors to explore historic sites, participate in heritage activities. Visitors can also enjoy community milestone celebrations.

Katagman Festival is an exciting showcase of the greater Oton's rich history in culture and recreation where these historic events enriched our community in a way allowed us to learn, be active and connect with others.


41st Carabao-Carroza in Pavia



Carabaos are used for farming and to pull carrozas or bamboo carts. In the rural areas, Carabaos are often brought to festivities and used as a popular ride for kids. Today, carabaos are a part of the popular culture of the Ilonggos.


And in the early 1970s, a carabao race became a popular attraction of the small yet progressive town of Pavia, Iloilo. The people of Pavia, Iloilo annually hold a unique kind of festival---the Carabao-Carroza Festival. Every 3rd day of May, as a festive opening for May-time festival, people from neighboring municipalities gather in the grandstand of Pavia National High School to witness the fun and entertaining flat and carroza races of carabaos in a 110-meter track.


Originally carabaos are used as processing power for farmlands. And as an expression of joy for the rich and abundant harvest, farmers hold a carabao race. The area that has been harvested was used for Carabao race. Finally, Carabao racing tradition until now continues to grow and is preserved.



The annual race, now on its 41st year is the highlight of the festivity that preserves their local culture and a way of promoting the carabao as our country’s national symbol, and as the farmer’s main work animal.


Farmers of the town not only prepare their carabaos for the race but also for the much-anticipated grand parade where it is stirred by the old tradition of using carrozas to carry the local produce of the barangays and their respective muses.


The carabaos are individually manicured, polished, and brushed till their bodies are clean and shiny. Each are then artistically painted and paraded with 18 beautiful muses representing the 18 barangays of the town. The parade starts at 7 in the morning at Ungka-I and ends at the race area.  


The Carabao-Carroza Festival is just as popular as ever and continues to hold its original purpose and meaning that is why it is one of the much-loved and very important celebrations not only for the people of Pavia but of the Ilonggos as a whole. The festival has been a notable aspect of Ilonggo culture for many years now and will be for the many years to come.


Carabao-Carroza Festival is not just a party of the Pavianhons of this celebration held every year. The festival is not just a tradition that carried generations from one to the next generation. The Carabao-Carroza Festival is a pride of every Ilonggos.

Friday, April 5, 2013

TAGA BANWA: The Iloilo Lifestyle Fashion Show for the 112th Semana sg Iloilo Celebration

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes 
In celebration of the 112th Foundation Anniversary of the Province of Iloilo, the Iloilo Provincial Government through the Provincial Tourism Office in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry Iloilo and International Lifestyle Designer PJ Aranador will stage TAGA BANWA, a fashion show showcasing Iloilo’s heritage crafts in contemporary forms using our traditional techniques and indigenous materials on April 12, 2013 at 12 noontime at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol lobby.

Little known of but fast gaining recognition products from 12 Micro Small and Medium Enterprises from the municipalities of Barotac Viejo, Tubungan, Carles, Estancia, San Dionisio, Batad, Lambunao and Leganes, Iloilo has participated in a design and product development program as part of developing and promoting our local crafts in line with the promotion of our crafts for tourism industry in IlIn oilo. After five months of intensive product development and to highlight public awareness of the program, DTI will present to you the results of the project.


photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
Nature has provided Iloilo with some wonderful natural materials to build and use with. Some are renewable resources and some are so abundant. One of the beauties of using these local materials is that they seem to fit naturally well with the feeling of the place. The celebration will also showcase theme settings at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol lobby to include items made by Wood Fashion and Design Creation in Barangay Buntatala, Leganes, NTC Native Products in Brangay Guihaman, Leganes, Atoy’s Furniture, Poblacion, Cabatuan and AM Grana Engineering and Construction Supply in Barangay Tacdangan, Cabatuan.

The Taga Banwa fashion show will showcase Segment One (Etnika) in a tribal inspired outfits of natural colors made of hablon  accessorized in Nito Bags as developed by the Ati community of Nagpana Minorities Association in Barangay Lipata, Barotac Viejo and Coconut  Accessories and products by Tubugan as developed Municipal Federation of RIC in Tubugan.


photo Vincent Angelo Gefes
Segment Two (Isla) is a resort wear presentation using patadyong and accessorized in seashells costume Jewelry and home décor by  Gigantes Islands Women’s Assoiation for Development [GIWAD] in Barangay Asluman, Carles assisted by the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College Shellcraft Center with colorful corn husks home décor by Moto Rural Improvement Club in Barangay Moto, San Dionisio and Caw-i Rural Improvement Club in Baranay Caw-I, Batad.

Segment Three (Rustica) highlights wedding in bright summer colors chiffon long gowns with hablon shawls ad accessorized in modern vinecraft and home décor by Tinio-an Vinecraft in Barangay Tinio-an, Cabatuan and buricraft of the Ati Community of Tribal Leong Organization for Development [TLOD] in Barangay Leong, Cabatuan.

The show’s finale in casual wear is designed to celebrate Iloilo’s 112th foundation anniversary with scrap cloth from Lambunao Garments, Poblacion, Lambunao, up-cycled to new outfits.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
With the theme, “Reporma Kag Pagbag-o, Yabe sa Kauswagan sg Iloilo,” the 112th Semana sg Iloilo will kick off on April 8 (Monday) with the Opening of the Regional Agri Fair Exhibit and Skills Demo on Livelihood Opportunities at the capitol carpark area and Pasundayag, a folk dance presentation from the municipality of Oton at 3 p.m., capitol lobby; April 9 (Tuesday) Iloilo Provincial Capitol Fun Run and Walk for a Cause at 5 a.m., Iloilo Sports Complex, Dugong Ilonggo, a blood-letting day with the Philippine Red Cross-Iloilo Chapter at the capitol lobby; April10 (Wednesday) JOBS FAIR, 8 a.m. at the capitol lobby and Recognition of Best Performing Cooperatives and Cooperative Congress at the 5th floor, Provincial Capitol; April 11 (Thursday) Family Day; April 12 (Friday) with a Fellowship Lunch, Launching of Iloilo Coffee Table Book, Recognition of Provincial Scholars an Agriculture Extension Workers and a fashion show at the capitol lobby.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

TINUKIB: Iloilo’s Newest Pasalubong Center

photo courtesy of TSKI

A trip to Iloilo will never be complete without shopping for some gift items for family and friends. TINUKIB is the traveler's new shopping destination when in Iloilo. Only a 15 minute drive from the city, it is located at the ground floor of Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Inc. (TSKI) Corporate Office, National Highway, Barangay Mali-ao, Pavia, Iloilo. It showcases the produce of small and micro entrepreneurs from the different towns, cities and neighboring provinces in Western Visayas.

This newly-opened local product outlet features beautifully executed product settings showcasing various souvenir items that inspire and invite solutions for your taste buds and home interior. Their 189 square foot display center the   gifts and housewares, fashion and accessories, furniture and furnishings, Hablon and Piña products, Ilonggo's delicacies from: Rgies, Molo County, PJ Delicacies, Deocampo's Barquillos, Sweet 'Nes, Wewins, Mc Nester, Badiangan Salabat, Kalibo Food Haus, Daday's Cashew Nuts, Don Rite Gourmet Food and a lot more from over 50 local manufacturers all over Western Visayas. An expert staff will help you navigate the display area of manufacturers' offerings helps to insure a successful experience in Tinukib. Guests will also feel relaxed with its fine features including a coffee shop, salad bar and a spacious parking area.

photo courtesy of TSKI
The Pasalubong Center is conceptualized to provide income, generate tax revenue for the local government, deliver service, develop enterprise and eventually create jobs for many Ilonggos.

Tinukib welcomes organizations, companies, businesses, schools, community organizations for personalized tours. These can be arranged and individually tailored for your group's requirements. Stop by any Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and can entertain group tours even during Sundays.

photo courtesy of TSKI
Everyone is enthusiastically invited and welcomed by our showroom to purchase local items. Consumers who wish to purchase custom-ordered pieces as well as other items, such as fabrics where they will connect you with their staff that can provide buying assistance, or specific design services suited to your style, budget and personality.

Almost all of the provinces and cities in the Philippines have special items identified to be a “must have pasalubong or souvenir product.” And when traveling, it is a usual practice to give gifts and tokens brought from one’s travel. So, when looking for the best gifts and souvenir items in Iloilo City, there is no place quite like Tinukib Pasalubong Center. This is the place to visit for all local handmade products with its modern and very attractive display area for buying or shopping local crafts and cultural products. Proudly Ilonggo!

For more information, please contact Miss Cherry Ganancial, Marketing Supervisor, Taytay Sa Kauswagan Incorporated (TSKI) or call (033)3201367 or at 0917-6343968.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Getting the Holiday Mood at Marichita’s Bed and Breakfast in Ajuy

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The municipality of Ajuy lies on the north side of the province, with mountainous landscapes and beautiful coastline. It is one of the more popular destinations, offering fine sands island beaches, inland resorts, historical places of interests and water sports. There are many places to stay in or visit on this town as well. To get a taste of Ajuy, head into its beautiful interior and visit some of its attractive barangays.

photo by Reynaldo Paguntalan Jr.

Marichita’s Bed and Breakfast is a charming, small privately-owned accommodation facility set in an 850 square meter lot, with a wonderful view of the sea and coastline. It enjoys a good position in this pretty and secluded fishing village in Barangay Pili, Ajuy, Iloilo, an easy access to the town center via motorcycle, yet far enough away to enjoy the tranquility of the area, the perfect base from which to enjoy your holiday.

a relaxing view of the neighboring islands from the veranda, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

This two-story accommodation facility is decorated with a tasteful inspirational blend of local art and contemporary comfort. It offers six comfortable air-conditioned rooms good for 2-4 persons with extra bed, a communal kitchen, a roof deck perfect for that intimate evening party for 30 persons and a veranda that overlooks the islands of Marbuena, Salog Dako and Gamay, Gin-asyan Dako and Gamay and Calabasa Islands. . They also offer a large Jacuzzi for those hot days. Not to mention, for those travelling by car, they have a safe parking area with a 24-hour security so you can relax and enjoy a well-deserved holiday.

Visitors can rent a canoe and fish, or take a day trip from our launch site and enjoy the sites of the islands. If you enjoy the sand in your toes, then pull up a chair on their beach along the resort’s edge while the kids play. At the end of the day come site under their gazebo and experience a breath taking sunset. It is a perfect location for visiting the wonderful coast and countryside.

The atmosphere is peaceful and relaxing and the quiet area descends to the beach making it convenient to bathe in safety from the facility. It also prides itself of offering guests a good level of friendly personal service.


dining room set in hard wood, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes


living room with hard wood set, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes


stylish bed made of hard wood, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

old wood furniture photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

This accommodation facility also serves as a showroom of classic designs of good wooden furniture and other wood furnishings. It also includes comfortable and attractive rustic wood furniture and furnishings perfect for all kinds of styles and décor, so you might find the perfect items for your needs. Better still, you can have it customized for your own home.

Marichita’s Bed and Breakfast invites you to experience the unhurried lifestyle along this scenic fishing village in Ajuy.  For more information, please contact Mr. Roy A. Latap at 09275226031.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Guimbal’s Historical Bantayan Festival



the much-anticipated tribal dance competition that highlights the Moro raids, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Now on its 11th year, the theatrical dance presentation of Guimbal’s Bantayan Festival re-enacts the battle between the Guimbalanons and the Muslim pirates. Series of activities are set on its 5-day celebration that will open on April 2 (Tuesday) Opening Parade, Float and Street Dancing Competition at 2:30 p.m. and Drum Beat Competition at 4 p.m.; April 3 (Wednesday) 1st Guimbal Cross Country Fun Ride at 5:30 a.m. and the Search for Miss Bantayan Festival at 7 p.m.; April 4 (Thursday) Bat Racing, Porma Balas and Pinta Lawas at 8 a.m., Fluvial Parade at 1:30 p.m. and the Re-enactment of the Moro Raids at 3 p.m. at Bantayan Beach Resort; April 5 (Friday) Art Workshop at 8 a.m. and Musical Concert with Manila Artists at 7 p.m.; April 6 (Saturday) Tribal Dance Competition at 3 p.m., Merry-Making at 5 p.m. and Awards Night and Fireworks Display at 9:30 p.m.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The much-anticipated tribal performances highlights with the guimba---ancient instrument of the Spanish Panayanons that resembled a drum and is beaten by hand to send messages from tower to tower to warn the community of an incoming raid. The construction of a Bantayan or watchtower is another important scene to look forward to. Adding more drama to the presentation is the intercession of St. Nicolas of Tolentine, the town’s patron saint and the Blessed Virgin Mary in driving the pirates away from their land. The Bantayan has become instrumental in securing the area for defense and to protect their peaceful community from Muslim.

one of the remaining Bantayans or Watchtowers of Guimbal situated in the shores of Bantayan Beach,
photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

Watchtowers, locally known as Bantayan, have stood vigil over the southern coast protecting the population from pirate raids. The main local threat to the southern coast of Iloilo was from pirates who were based in Sulu. The pirates found the sheltered bays along this part of the southern coast to be favorable spots to come ashore for fresh water and provisions and to capture prisoners to sell as slaves. These incursions posed not only a personal threat to locals, but also played a part in destabilizing an already fragile economy.

Guimbal is dotted with watchtowers along Barangays Tuguisan, C. Colon and Pescadores. The history of these fortified walls tells of an eventful and troubled past. Three survived, their ruins silently maintain vigil over sun-worshippers.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes
A Bantayan is a small sheltered tower serving as look out posts to warn against pirates. Some watchtowers in Guimbal were more to become permanent and lasted for generations and are increasingly rare.

The towers were generally built using a circular base, between four and five meters in diameter and up to eight to ten meters tall. For security, they had only one entrance gate located at medium height of the structure that could be accessed only by rope or wooden ladder. Many of the constructions still remain, though in a varied state of conservation.

The watchtower would be manned by a small team of lookouts and they needed a quick and reliable way to communicate with each other if they were going to be effective. Some devised a simple communication system that involved the watch men building a number of bonfires. They would light them when pirate ships were sighted and while smoky fires would be used in daylight, blazing fires would be used at night. Each tower would pass on the signal, either on a clockwise or counter clockwise direction around the town.

The St. Nicolas of Tolentine Parish, photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The locals also depend on their church to protect them, often sleeping in them if pirate ships have been sighted. Many of the ancient churches in the Iloilo still resemble small fortresses, with few windows and a bell tower to warn of danger. If the villagers were lucky, the pirates would take everything of value before torching the buildings. If they were unlucky, they would be killed or taken to their ships to be ransomed for money or sold as slaves.

photo by Vincent Angelo Gefes

The heritage of such brave spirits has left the coastline with a legacy of historic monuments that, today, are part of the character and cultural landscape of the annual celebration of Bantayan Festival.

For more information, please contact Mrs. Karen Gayanilo-Felicio, Municipal Tourism Officer at 09177222477 or (033) 3155277/ 3155288.

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