Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bayluhay: Continuing to Educate, Inspire, Honour and Respect History

re-enactment of the Barter of Panay, photo courtesy of San Joaquin Iloilo FB Account
The annual celebration of Bayluhay Festival in San Joaquin, Iloilo continues to excite its visitors and the experience is ever-changing. Celebrated this year on January 12-17, Bayluhay is highlighted by the tribe competition on January 15 at 2 p.m.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Iloilo FB Account

Bayluhay features dance and music that reflects a tradition of community cooperation and celebration that began at least as early as the arrival of its permanent settlers. They brought their traditions with them. Their rituals shown in their dances have historically held an essential place in their culture and had allowed visitors of the community to experience communion with each other.

The dances possess many levels of meaning. Dancers perform solemn movements where each gesture has significance such as honouring deities and ancestors, affecting weather patterns, celebrating birth, grieving the dead, and seeking answers to complex community dilemmas.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Iloilo FB Account

The centerpiece of the performances is based on folk history of the Maragtas legend on the Barter of Panay believed to have taken place sometime in the 12th century with the landing of the ten (10) Bornean Chieftains or "Datus" near the mouth of Siwaragan River in San Joaquin. To escape from the cruelty and injustice of their Bornean ruler Sultan Makatunaw, the datus headed by Datu Puti with their families boarded their “binidays" (boats) and sailed out of Borneo not knowing where to go.  They were warmly welcomed by the inhabitants of the island of Panay, the peace-loving Atis or Aetas with their chieftain, Marikudo, and his wife Maniwangtiwang. Negotiations were made of the entire lowland of the island to be taken over by the datus for the price of a golden Saduk (hat), a Manangyad or a golden necklace and various gifts. The transaction was successfully sealed in a place in Sinogbuhan, the Imbidayan Rock. The Atis fled to the mountains. The datu leader, Puti continued his voyage leaving the entire island to the leadership Sumakwel with his wife Kapinangan. Sumakwel later on divided Panay into three: Irong-irong (Iloilo), Hamtic (Antique), and Aklan. Irong-irong was given to the leadership of Paiburong. The island lived in peace and prosperity until the arrival of Spaniards authorities. 

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Iloilo FB Account

Bayluhay celebrates our rich culture, traditions, proud people and enlightenment spanning many years. Our culture or tradition cannot be complete without us tracing the origin of our people that practise the culture. We must not only follow but also preserve them, both for our identity and for our coming future. 

photo courtesy of San Joaquin Iloilo FB Account

Make San Joaquin your destination for a unique and fun-filled family outing or bring your friends to experience Spanish heritage as it is preserved by the community today. Whether your visit is a family stopover or a couple’s weekend get-away, the Camposanto at the Catholic Cemetery, Catholic Church, Garinfarm and Marine Sanctuaries are must-sees. San Joaquin is the perfect destination for an enjoyable driving holiday.

To get to San Joaquin, the last municipality in the southern district of Iloilo Province, one can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo or at the market terminal along Mabini St. in Iloilo City. Metered taxis are also available. For more information, please contact Mrs. Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09498309171.

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