Monday, March 28, 2016

A Spectacle that is Bantayan

Summer has arrived. And if you are planning a trip to the southern coast, timing your holiday on this area to coincide with a historic-religious festival that offers you the chance to experience, the excitement, the local culture and religious traditions that takes place every year in the small yet progressive and peaceful town of Guimbal, Iloilo. Surely you will have a good time and experience something truly Ilonggo.

Bantayan Festival in Guimbal, Iloilo is celebrated with exuberance and high-spirit because it is a festivity full of rich history and cultural significance. Guimbalanons unite as they celebrate Bantayan this year on March 29 till April 3.

For 14 years now, the festival holds series of special events unique to this town starting with its Foundation Day on March 29 (Tuesday) with the opening of Agro Fair and Food Festival, Mass at 2 p.m., Grand Float Parade and Street Dancing Competition at 4 p.m., Opening Program with the Drum Beat Competition at 7 p.m.; March 30 (Wednesday) the Search for Anyag kang Bantayan at 8 p.m.; March 31 (Thursday) Boat Racing Competition, Canvass Painting Contest, Pinta Lawas at 8 a.m. till 12 noon at Bantayan Beach Resort, Re-enactment of the Moro Raids in Bantayan Beach Resort at 2:30 p.m. by Tribu Bunabihan, Champion Bantayan Festival 2015 Tribal Dance Drama Competition,  12th Bantayan Film Festival at 8p.m.;  April 1 (Friday) Motocross at Guimbal River, 8 a.m., Musical Concert with Morisette Amon and Grae Fernandez at 8 p.m.; April 2 (Saturday) Tribal Dance Drama Competition at 2 p.m., Merry-Making in Rizal Street and Awards Night and Fireworks Competition at 9:30 p.m.; April 3 (Sunday) last day of Food Festival and Agro Fair.     

The different historic periods of this town were celebrated with reverence to their religion of Christianity, following the Spanish conquest where new stone churches and watchtowers were built that had marked a religious importance in their lives today. 

Religion is an integral part of the dance-drama presentation and is performed with impressive prop, traditional dress, music and dancing providing a blanket of colourful expressions. The dance-drama performances are always a spectacle. It is colourful. It is a happy event but most performers get to be very emotional when finally entering the arena.

Bantayan Festival celebrates their faith to their patron saint and protector, Sto. Nicholas de Tolentino, local legend of their patron which described several apparitions that took place in the town and how these apparitions saved them from fierce attacks by the Muslim Pirates.

The Bantayan or watchtower along with the Guimba, a drum wrapped in animal skin and was used to warn the people of an incoming Moro raid are the cultural icons of the festival. Both are prominent in every dance-drama presentations.

Guimbal is a southern town 29 kilometers or a 35-minute drive from the city of Iloilo. It shares borders with Tigbauan on the east; on the northeast by Tubungan; Igbaras on the northwest; and west by Miagao. With a land area of 44.61 square kilometers it is politically subdivided into 33 barangays. For more information, please contact Mrs. Karen Gayanilo-Felicio at 09082865480.

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