Monday, January 18, 2016

Embracing the Fun and Colors of Hinirugyaw – Suguidanonay Festival



Calinog’s indigenous people will celebrate and share their culture through dance and chants at the annual traditional and contemporary Hirinugyaw–Suguidanonay Festival with the Tribe Competition on January 31 (Sunday) at 9 a.m.  The celebration presents a vibrant celebration of traditional and contemporary culture, art, dance and music. It is a special event of great beauty and cultural significance.



The Hirinugyaw–Suguidanonay Festival is the largest and most colourful Indigenous festival in Iloilo, drawing a large audience coming from the neighboring towns and the province of Capiz. It is one of the most important Indigenous cultural events in the province reflecting the wealth of Indigenous creative talent. It features arts, music, dance and cultural traditions of the Sulodnons or Panay Bukidnons of Calinog.



Inhabiting the mountains of Central Panay mainly in Tapaz, Capiz, Calinog and Lambuanao, Iloilo and in Valderrama, Antique Province are the Sulodnons. The Suguidanon segment of the festivity provides visitors with their authentic indigenous culture. Suguidanon, a story-telling done in chants, performed and showcased in chapters from the folk epic poem Hinilawod (Tales from the Mouth of Halawod River), considered to be the second longest epic in the world. Each year, one chapter from the epic is performed accompanied by chanting done in Kiniray-a.

Hirinugyaw, from a Hiligaynon word hugyaw meaning to cheer is inspired by the Dinagyang Festival performance anchoring on the religious aspect of venerating Sr. Sto. Niño and highlighted by colourful costumes with fast-paced dances movements..

The festivity provides a range of healthy, family-friendly activities for the community to enjoy starting January 22 (Friday) Opening Salvo at 3 p.m., Holy Mass at 3 p.m., Opening Ceremony and Lighting of Torch at 5:30 p.m., Torch Parade at 6 p.m., and the Presentation and Talent Competition for Lin-ay Kag Ulitao 2016; January 23 (Saturday) Novena Mass at 5:30 a.m., Mia Cultural Show at 7 p.m.; January 24 (Sunday) Mass at 5:30 a.m. and LGU Cultural Show at 7 p.m.; January 25 (Monday) Novena Mass at 5:30 a.m. and CNCHS Variety Show at 7 p.m.; January 26 (Tuesday) Novena Mass at 5:30 and Cultural Show at 7 p.m.; January 27 (Wednesday) Novena Mass at 5:30 a.m., Cooking Competition at 6 p.m. and Iloilo Workshop at 7 p.m.; January 28 (Thursday) Novena Mass at 5:30 a.m., Adlaw Sang Manguguma at 7 a.m. and Linghuron Nga Lin-ay Kag Ulitao 2016 Coronation Night; January 29 (Friday) Novena Mass at 5:30 a.m. and Hamtong Nga Lin-ay Kag Ulitao 2016 Coronation Night; January 30 (Saturday) Holy Mass and Blessing of Sto. Nino Images at 7 a.m., Procession at 8:30 a.m., Agape at 10:00 a.m. and Camasova Night Variety Show at 7 p.m.; January 31 (Sunday) Holy Mass at 7 a.m., Tribe Competition at 9 a.m. and Awarding Ceremony at 8 p.m.



Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival provides a fantastic opportunity for attendees to be fully immersed in Calinog’s Panay Bukidnon and local culture. This is a celebration of their lives together as one people living in mutual respect of their differences in faith, identity, and ethnicity.

To get to Calinog, numerous jeepneys and buses run daily from Pavia People’s Terminal in Barangay Ungka-II, Pavia, Iloilo or at the Bus-Jeepney Terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Pasungay and Pahibag: Honouring the Community’s Cultural and Historical Heritage

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU

The annual Pasungay and Pahibag or Bull Fight and Horse Fight is celebrated in San Jaoquin, Iloilo on January 16, 2016 (Saturday) at 8 o’clock in the morning attracting many local villagers as well as tourists from neighboring parts of the region.

Since then, bull and horse fight has been carried on generation after generation. Local villagers often hold such activity to entertain themselves. Ownership of a bull or a horse especially among upland farmers is known to be some form of a status symbol. The number and quality of bulls and horses a man owns oftentimes determines his status and wealth in the community where he belongs. 

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU

The bulls and horses are specially bred and conditioned for increased stamina and strength. Bull and Horse fighting are featured events during annual fiestas. Many eager spectators travel long distances from upland barangays to see bulls and horses pitched against each other.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU

People gather and many would climb trees for a better view of the festival taking place at the San Joaquin Sports Arena. The crowd cheers – the object of their excitement are stallions and bulls. Males clash over mates and the weaker ones give in to their stronger counterpart before they are seriously injured.

photo courtesy of San Joaquin LGU
Pasungay and Pahibag is an emotionally intense event with a building up of tension to a point of climax. During such fights the bulls and horses push, shove, head-but, bite, and kick each other to submission.  The animal loses the fight if it runs out of the pre-defined ring.    In some cases, the organizers allow the victorious stallion to mate the mare.

The annual celebration of Pasungay and Pahibagn honours the community’s artistic, cultural and historical heritage.

San Joaquin is a 2nd Class municipality and is 85 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is the last town south of the province. It has a land area of 23,135 hectares subdivided into 85 barangays. It annually celebrates its patronal fiesta every January. Market days are every Wednesdays and Fridays.


To get to the town one can take a jeepney situated at the market in Rizal Street the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo or at the Don Benita Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. For more information, please contact Mrs. Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09176619120.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Bayluhay: A Celebration on the Birth of the Ilonggo Nation



San Joaquin, Iloilo will celebrate its annual municipal fiesta with Bayluhay Festival on January 11-16, 2016 highlighted by the street dancing and tribal dance competition on January 14 at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, San Joaquin Sports Arena.

The community follow the tradition of the love for their local history. The eventful and fun-filled 6-day celebration started in 2004 aims to generate harmony and brotherhood in the area. Nine participating groups from newly nationalized secondary schools will compete this year.



Bayluhay showcases the historic barter based on folk history of the Maragtas legend narrating that sometime between the 13th and 15th century, ten Shri-Vijayan Datus led by the Sultanate Minister Datu Putih, together with their families, households and subordinates fled Bornay (Borneo) using their balanghais boat for sea travel) in search of a new life. It was said that the group landed in Siruanga (Siwaragan River in San Joaquin) where they bartered their gold and jewelries with the local "Ati" (Aeta) Chieftain Marikudo with his wife Maniwantiwang for the lowlands, plains and valleys of the Aninipay Island (Panay) they called "Madya-as" or paradise. After the transaction was sealed, the Atis were believed to have retired to the mountains and the Malay took complete control of the lowlands.

Madyaas was politically subdivided into Akean (Aklan and Capiz) under Datu Bangkaya, Irong-irong (Iloilo) under Datu Paiburong and Hamtic (Antique) under Datu Sumakwel. Datu Putih along with the other remaining six Datus: Datu Balengkaka-Akean; Datu Kalantiaw-Akean; Datu Manduyog-Akean; Datu Padojinog-Irong-Irong; Datu Madnayag-Akean codified the Code of Kalantiaw (by Kalantiaw) and the Maragtas Code (by Sumakwel) for the people of Panay Island. After the event, two datus left for Batangas and Mindoro and Datu Putih was said to have returned to North Borneo.



Excerpts of the performances will also include the portrayal of everyday life during the ancient times. Ritual drama are also incorporated which includes music, song, drumming, chanting and mass participation. These ritual traditions have left a lasting impression on our Malay brothers that are very much visible to this day.



San Joaquin has one of the most visited destinations in Iloilo, and the chance to observe Bayluhay Festival at this stunning National Historical Treasure site is one of the most exciting opportunities that this town’s wealth of attractions has to offer.

San Joaquin is a 2nd Class municipality and is 85 kilometers away from Iloilo City. It is the last town south of the province. It has a land area of 23,135 hectares subdivided into 85 barangays. It annually celebrates its patronal fiesta every January. Market days are every Wednesdays and Fridays.

To get to the town one can take a jeepney situated at the market in Rizal Street the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo or at the Don Benita Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. For more information, please contact Mrs. Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09176619120.



Sunday, January 3, 2016

Binanog Festival: Fostering to Preserve Old Rural Traditions in Lambunao



With this year’s theme: Binanog, Bugal nga Dunang Manggad kag Kultra sang Lambunaonons, The 13th Binanog Festival in Lambunao, Iloilo kicks off on January 6 (Wednesday) with a Mass at 1 p.m., Motorcade, Opening Program with excerpts from participating tribes at 3 p.m., Torch Parade at 6 p.m. and Binanog Festival Queen Talents Night at 8 p.m.;  January 7 (Thursday) IP Sinaot sa Dalan Parade at 9 a.m., IP Program at 10 a.m., IP Foodefst at 12 noon, IP Sinadya kag Binayle at 1 p.m. onwards, Stylized Folkdance Contest at 7 p.m., and S9inadya sa Plaza at 9 p.m.; January 8 (Friday) Farmer’ Day Festival at 8 a.m., Lambunano Festival Queen Coronation Night at 8 p.m.; January 9 (Saturday) Laro ng Lahi at 8 a.m., Sinadya sa Plaza at 9 p.m.; January 10 (Sunday) Tribe Competition at 1 p.m., Merry Making at 5 p.m., Luces in the Sky at 7:30 p.m., and Sinadya sa Plaza at 9 p.m.


The Binanog dance with its music along with the Suguidanon  or chanting have always been significant in the lives of the Sulodnons or Panay Bukidnons, a tribal minority reside in the mountainous areas of Capiz-Lambunao and are the only culturally indigenous group of Visayan language-speakers in the whole of Western Visayas.  These art forms are both a common amusement and a solemn duty. It has played an important part in the way they interact, celebrate and relay historic events.  These art forms are communication style and play a functional role in their society. They accompany marriage, birth, death and even political activities.

Although the musical styles and instruments vary from tribe to tribe, there are some common forms of musical expression. By far the most significant instrument in its music is the gong. Used in the Binanog dance, the gong evokes emotion. The beat of the gong is considered the “heartbeat of the Binanog dance” and its rhythm is what holds the dancers together.


Binanog dance is very much liked everywhere, since they are lively and very graceful. It is a courtship dance re-enacting the coupling mechanism of two banog birds locally known as dapay or hawk, accompanied by the beating of a gong. The dance is an integral part of the Panay Bukidnon culture. Dancers use symbolic gestures, costumes and hand prop to communicate. The dance movements can be simple or complex with intricate actions including fast rotation, flapping of the arms, swaying of the hips and stomping of feet.


Dancing regalia includes brightly-colored needlework locally known as Tinubok, a harmonious blend of attractive colors and natural patterns; the patadyong (a cotton fabric in plaid patterns of red, blue, yellow, green and pink with white borders), a headwear, necklace.

The Binanog dance as a way of re-enacting and chants of Suguidanon as a way of reverence both essential to the Sulodnons.  It is an extension of their belief where they see it as vitally important to their identity and an intrinsic part of their culture.


It is wonderful that this beautiful Panay Bukidnon art is propagated and annually celebrated since it is a valuable treasure, which should be kept alive.

The scenic town of Lambunao belonging to the Third Congressional District of the province is an hour drive or 48 kilometer away from the city. The town is comprised of 73 barangays. One can take a jeepney or van at the terminal fronting Christ the King in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Miss Jennifer Osorio- Municipal Tourism Officer at 09199950593.










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