Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Salakayan Festival: An Enjoyable Way to Experience Miagao’s History

photo by Kim Isiah Valencia
Miagao, Iloilo - Now well-known around the country than other folk festivals in Iloilo, far more people flock to see the re-enactment of the three-centuries-long struggle for control of the country, between followers of Christianity against the Muslims. Knowing it first hand is to attend the Salakayan Festival celebration. From the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack,” the Salakayan tribe competition remains as the favorite of all special events scheduled this year on February 7 (Saturday) at 9 a.m. Students from high school and collegiate levels re-enact the historic battle between the natives and the Muslim pirates sometime in 1754.

photo by Kim Isiah Valencia

The 17th Salakayan Festival will be celebrated with the towns’ 299th Foundation Anniversary. With its theme, “Sa Pagbag-o nga Mainuswagon, Pinannubling Miagaowanon Tipigan Naton,” series of special events are highlighted daily starting on January 31 (Saturday) opens with a Fun Run by UP Ichthyophilic Society at 5:30 a.m., Mass and Fluvial Parade with Blessing of Boats and CAP Teves Pabalhas sa Baras at 7:00 a.m., Battle of the Sounds at 1 p.m., Opening Salvo at 2 p.m., Opening of Food Fair at 6 p.m., Search for Miss Salakayan 2015 at 8 p.m.; February 1 (Sunday) SIPC Night at 7 p.m.; February 2 (Monday) Opening of Agro Trade Fair at 8 a.m., DepEd Day at 2 p.m., and MCES Night at 7 p.m.; February 3 (Tuesday) Naval Reserve Medical Mission at 8 a.m., MCES and MVS Class 1977 and 1981 at 6 p.m.; February 4 (Wednesday) Massage Therapy Blind Masseurs at JRBB Hall at 8 a.m., Sine Ta Dya: 1st Miagao Film Festival at JRBB Hall at 2 p.m., Higantes Showdown at 6:30 p.m. and Liga Night at 7 p.m.; February 5 (Thursday) Investment Forum at 9 a.m., Sine Ta Dya at 2 p.m., Balik Banwa Night at 7 p.m.; February 6 (Friday) Vendors Night at 7 p.m.; February 7 (Saturday) Tribes Competition at 8 a.m., Float Parade at 2 p.m., Awarding at 8 p.m.; February 8 (Sunday) Fun Run at 5:30 a.m., Motorcross at 7 a.m., Fun Ride 7:30 a.m. and Awarding of Outstanding Miagaowanon and Coronation of Queen of Miagao at 8 p.m.

photo by Kim Isiah Valencia

In the coastal municipalities of the First Congressional District of the province, the conflict between the Moro pirates and Christian local settlements events are simply an annual highlight, a way to have fun while taking pride in the area's rich history. The Christian community is resigned to what they see as an uncomfortable reminder of how they were once terrorized by Muslim pirates.

photo by Kim Isiah Valencia

Key to the re-enactment is the building of the present St. Thomas of Villanova Parish to its present site, which was originally built in Sitio Ubos near the river. There was no battle then. While there had been small revolts by the town's natives because they were frequent targets of Piracy. The oppression ended when the locals successfully defended their town from the attack of the barbaric Sulu pirates in May 7, 1754.

photo by Kim Isiah Valencia

Each year, Miagaowanons from other regions and outside of the country return to Miagao to take part in Salakayan Festival. The celebration is organised by the local government unit headed by the very active and tourism-oriented Municipal Mayor, Hon. Macario Napulan. Participants as far as its mountain barangays descend to the town proper for the occasion.

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

To get to Miagao, 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. For more information, please contact, Mr. Arli Nim-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09332124066.

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