Monday, April 21, 2014

KATAGMAN Festival: Bringing Ilonggos to the Excitement and Entertainment of History

Katagman Festival in Oton is designed to inspire, excite and inform Ilonggos and help them make a personal connection with the past and with the community. This year, the municipal government is proud to offer interesting and relevant programs and events that enrich the lives of Ogtonganons and offer every Ilonggos a unique perspective – and a great time.

The scenic and peaceful countryside of Oton is transformed into one of the most festive towns with so much amazing entertainment for all the family. With the theme, “Ogtong sang Una, Karon kag sa Palaabuton: Maskara nga Bulawan Amligan, Ipasundayag Padulong sa Kauswagan,”the very friendly municipality of Oton will celebrate its 442nd Foundation Day Celebration and its 13th Katagman Festival with series of special events that will open on April 28 (Monday) with a Mass, Parade, Opening of Agri Fair, Garden Show and OTOP Fair in the morning and the Search for Hiyas Sang Katagman at 7 p.m.; April 29 (Tuesday) FITS Day, Laro ng Lahi in the morning and the Search for Ginoong Erpat and Ginang Ermat at 6:30 p.m.; April 30 (Wednesday) Borador sa Katagman at 7 a.m. in Barangay Trapiche, Lampirong Diving Contest at 7 a.m. at the Municipal Fishport and the Awarding of Outstanding Ogtonganons and Young Achievers at 7 p.m.; May 1 (Thursday) Iloilo-Batiano Eco Walk at 5:30 a.m. (will take-off at Oton Plaza), On-the-Spot Painting Contest at 8 a.m. at the Heritage Lagoon, and Zumbra I (Tatoo/ Motorshow/ Rap and Band Performances) at 1 p.m. at the Multi-purpose Gymnasium, Katagman Street Dancing Competition at 3 p.m., Katagman Dance-Drama presentation at 6 p.m.; May 2 (Friday) Porma Balas at 7:30 a.m. at the Municipal Fishport, Motorboat Race/ Baroto Race at 7:30 a.m. at the Municipal Fishport, Awarding of Fishing Tournament, Lampirong Shelling and Eating Contest at 7:30 a.m. at the Municipal Fishport; May 3 (Saturday) 442nd Foundation Day Mass at 2 p.m.

It is believed that the present name of the town, Oton, is a Hispanized version of the phrase “Ogtong Adlaw” which means noontime. According to the story, the native gave this phrase when they were asked by Spanish exporters as to the time of the day. Many people up to now still refer to the town as Ogtong.

The Spanish conquest of Iloilo started in 1566 in Ogtong. Spanish authorities, led by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, approached the natives in the area with an entirely different attitude. Spain’s strong sense of supremacy which is common with other Spanish colonies is that the church and the state are inseparable when carrying out Spanish objectives. The Church took care of spiritual matters. Led by Fr. Martin de Rada of the Agustinian Order, Spanish authorities evangelized and converted the local inhabitants from their primal religion to Roman Catholicism. They also made Ogtong as their hiding fort until 1569. It was in 1572 when Ogtong became the seat of Spanish government and of Christianity. The State took care of temporal matters as civil administration built upon the traditional village organization and used traditional local leaders to rule indirectly for Spain.

However, long before Spanish conquest, Ogtong was said to have been an advanced society where the natives enjoy substantial wealth from trading with people from the east. Regular trade and cultural contacts already existed as written records reveal that Chinese and Southeast Asian ceramics were found in the area. It is said that somewhere near the present Batiano Bridge was once one of the five ancient major Malay ports in Iloilo.

In the 1960s anthropologists Alfredo Evangelista and F. Landa Jocano excavated an open pit burial in Barangay San Antonio and found a death mask made of very thin gold with one piece used to cover the eye and the other piece placed on the nose. Pre-Spanish ceramic trade wares had also been retrieved.

Katagman Festival recognizes the historical significance of the golden mask to the community. It supports the values of Oton’s history set up to promote the understanding, importance and enjoyment of its past to the widest possible audience of all ages.

Oton is a First Class municipality. Approximately 10.2 kilometers away from Iloilo City, the town is bordered in the east by the district of Arevalo in Iloilo City; west by the municipality of Tigbauan: north by San Miguel; and the southern portion by a stretch of shoreline of the Sulu Sea. Made up of 37 barangays, the town has a total land area of 8,456 hectares. For more information, please contact Mrs. Irene Otero – Municipal Tourism Officer at (033) 3351014.

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