Friday, January 31, 2014

Salakayan of Miagao: A Festival to Remember

The municipality of Miagao will be transformed into a sea of colors to mark the 16th Salakayan Festival alongside its 298th Foundation Anniversary this year on January 31st till the 9th of February. The carnival atmosphere will envelope the entire town as residents will proudly celebrate their town's history.

The 10-day celebration will immerse visitor to its rich local culture with special that are beautiful expression of Miagao’s unique character. Music, dancing, plenty of food and drinking, fireworks and daily cultural presentations are the norm during Salakayan. The event will opens on January 31 (Friday) with the Night with the Stars at the JRBB Hall, 7:30 p.m.; February 1 (Saturday) is the Pamukaw around the poblacion at 4 a.m., Thanksgiving Mass at 8:30 a.m., Opening Salvo, Higantes Parade, Raising of Barangay Banners, Nono Palmos Hablon Fashion Exhibit and the Opening of Food Fair at 2 p.m. and ends the day with the Search for Mr. and Miss Salakayan 2014 at 7 p.m. at the JRBB Hall; February 2 (Sunday) at 6 a.m. is Biking and the Vendors Night at the municipal plaza at 7 p.m.; February 3 (Monday) the Opening of Agro Trade Exhibit at 9 a.m., Sto. Tomas Street, the Aquaphonics Seminar at the Sulu Garden at 3 p.m. and the SIPC Alumni Night at 7 p.m. at the Miagao town plaza; February 4 (Tuesday) LIGA Day, Dep Ed Day at 2 p.m., Liga Fund Raising Activity and the LIGA Night at 7 p.m., February 5 (Wednesday) Business Forum at 8:30 a.m. at the JRBB Hall, Basketball Games at 4 p.m., Balikbayan Night at 6 p.m.; February 6 (Thursday) Beach Events, Games and Feriahan at 8 a.m. in Babay Norte, Motor Show at 8:30 a.m., Battle of the Sounds at Baybay Norte, 8:30 a.m., Alumni Night (MCES) at 7 p.m. at the Miagao town plaza; February 7 (Friday) Mass, Blessing of Boats and Fluvial Parade at 8 a.m. in Baybay Norte; Cultural Show and Miagao Fashion Show at JRBB Hall at 6 p.m.; February 8 (Saturday) is the much-anticipated Salakayan Tribe Contest at 8 a.m., Float parade at 3 p.m., Ribbon cutting Hablon Fashion Exhibit of Nono Palmos and the Tribes Night at 7 p.m.; February 9 (Sunday) Mass and Agape at 7:30 a.m. at the JRBB Hall, Motorcross at 8 a.m. at the BLISS-Kirayan Tacas, Car Show at 2p.m. at the Municipal Building Ground and the Coronation of the Queen of Miagao 2014 at the Miagao town plaza at 8 p.m.

Salakayan, from the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack” is an annual commemoration interpreted through contested dance-drama performances depicting the historic battle that took place in this town where Miagaowanons successfully defended their place from the rampant attacks of Muslim pirates sometime in May 7, 1754.

Coastal settlements in the islands of Panay became the objects of frequent Moro raids. Many towns in the north and south of Iloilo became easy targets and Miagao was not spared from these raids that resulted to the burning of the original structure of St. Thomas of Villanova church situated at that time in Sitio Ubos.

The people of Miagao celebrate that historical moment, a celebration of Miagaowanons’ freedom. It stands as an expression of a communal spirit and the joy of a Miagaowanon soul. It represents the dreams, cultures, celebration of the way of life and people of Miagao.

The history of the Salakayan Festival began with modest gatherings in the streets around the town center. And throughout the week-long celebration, series of special events to mark Salakayan became potent festival symbols.

The iconic Higantes parade is a popular tradition during the festival is a tradition started in 1999 and continues to this day and was enriched over time. People come to see several giants with its main feature of papier maché heads and bodies covered in yards of colorful textiles. The Higantes are crowd-drawers during the tribal dance competition.

Miagao is 40.5 kilometers south from Iloilo City. Politically subdivided into 199 barangays over a land area of 13,286 hectares, Miagao is bordered by the towns of Igbaras to its northeast; Guimbal to its east, San Joaquin to its west; and the municipality of Sibalom, Antique Province to its northwest. To get there, 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.

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