Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Showcasing Traditional Miagaowanon Values Through Salakayan Festival

Miagao, Iloilo will celebrate its 301st Foundation Anniversary on February 1-12, 2017 highlighted by the annual Salakayan Festival tribe competition on February 11 (Saturday) at 9 a.m. Visitors will witness moving, entertaining cultural events and pay homage to old traditions.

This year’s theme, Kari Kita sa Miagao, Kasaysayan, Kultura kag Pagtuo sang Pumuluyo Ipadayon, the celebrations’ daily activities are beautiful expressions of their unique character. February 1 (Wednesday) is the soft opening of their Food Fair at the town plaza, 6 p.m.; February 2 (Thursday) Film Showing at the town plaza, 6:30 p.m.; February 3 (Friday) MCES Alumni Night Batch 67 Golden Jubilarians at the town plaza at 6 p.m.; February 4 (Saturday) National Aquathlon at 5 a.m.at OWL – UPV MIagao Campus, St. Louise de Marillac School of Miagao Alumni Homecoming at 1 p.m., Miagao Vocational Class 67 Golden Jubilarians at town plaza at 6 p.m.; February 8 (Sunday) NOTYOURUSUALTRIATHLON at the town plaza at 5 a.m., Salakayan ng mga Tattoo at JRBB Hall at 1 p.m., Battle of the Bands at the town plaza at 5 p.m., Car Show at the Municipal Building grounds at 5:30 p.m.

February 6 (Monday) Pamukaw at the Poblacion at 5 a.m., Salakayan Mass at the Miagao church at 6 a.m., Opening of Agro-Trade Fair at the Municipal Building grounds at 10 a.m., Opening Salvo at the Poblacion at 2 p.m., Salakayan Re-enactment at town plaza at 5 p.m., Opening of Food Fair at town plaza at 6 p.m., Miss Salakayan 2017 Talents Night at JRBB Hall at 7 p.m., Live Band at the Municipal Building grounds at 7 p.m.; February 7 (Tuesday) Cavalcade of Dances in front of Miagao church at 2 p.m., LIGA Night at town plaza at 7 p.m.; February 8 (Wednesday) Balikbanwa Night at the town plaza at 7 p.m.; February 9 (Thursday) Drum Corps Competition in front of Miagao church at 2 pm., LIGA Night at town plaza at 7 p.m.; February 10 (Friday) Mass and Fluvial Parade in Barangay Baybay Norte at 8 a.m., Games at Sea in Barangay Baybay Norte at 10:30 a.m., Laro ng Lahi at the Municipal covered court at 10:30 a.m., Float Parade at the Poblacion at 3 p.m., Higante Contest at Municipal Building grounds at 6 p.m., Harakhak sa Miagao at the Municipal Building grounds at 10 p.m.; February 11 (Saturday) Salakayan Tribe Competition at the Poblacion at 8 a.m., Street Dancing at the Poblacion at 3 p.m., Tribe’s Night at the Municipal Building grounds at 7 p.m.; February 12 (Sunday) Mass at Miagao church at 7:15 a.m., Agape at the JRBB Hall at  8:30 a.m. and the Coronation Night at the town plaza at 9 p.m.

Coined from a Hiligaynon term “salakay” or “to attack,” Salakayan is a street dance-drama that depicts the hardships and eventually the victorious battle waged by the MIagaowanons against Muslim marauders sometime in 1754.

The presentations capture the resilience of the human spirit in this dance-drama that recreates brutal human bondage in the hold of Moro pirates. An eclectic mixture of fast, dramatic rhythms with soulful vocals, Miagaowanons tell the story of a journey out of freedom into slavery and to declare that, in spite of the horrible darkness of this enslavement, there is nothing that can extinguish the light of the human soul.

Miagao, along with neighboring Guimbal was the epic enter of piratical attacks in the First Congressional District of the province during early Spanish period. It caused periods of misery for the inhabitants. Most Spanish-held settlements were devastated by constant Moro attacks. Organized Moro fleets carry weapons that can equal to that of the Spaniards. These fleets were said to have spread all over the archipelago. Towns and churches were looted of their ornaments and jewels and then burned. The townspeople were carried away to slavery.

It was said that the raids were reaction to the zealous propagation of the Christian faith by the Spaniards. A popular method was the surprise attack in force. The locals would be caught unaware. As a result, Moros capture many natives for slavery. Slave-holding was something they cannot live without. Slaves were used as medium of exchange at that time, a form of investment. It was the base of their wealth and happiness. It made them powerful and influential. The Christians captured in the raids were used extensively in the incursions as oarsmen of Moro vessels, freeing them from odd jobs especially during naval encounters.

Forts, watchtowers in strategic places along the coasts and other structures for defense were constructed by the townspeople through the leadership of their parish priests. Many were employed to build these structures. Some were even asked to donate lime and stone. Ruins of these structures in Miagao and Guimbal now stand as silent reminders of the dreaded Moro piratical attacks made in their community.

Miagao’s annual Salakayan Festival is to celebrate, teach, honour, and strengthen the traditional Miagaowanon values of God, family, freedom, and community.

Miagao is 40.5 kilometers south from the city. It has a land area of 13,286 hectares subdivided into 199 barangays. It 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, Anthony Selorio-Municipal Tourism Officer at 09391737407.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay A True Cultural Experience

Calinog, Iloilo will celebrate Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival on January 20 – 29, 2017. The annual tribal dance competition set on January 29 at 9 a.m. is already renowned for its vivacious colors, lively music and strong cultural ties. The celebration tends to pull out all the stops when it comes to festivals.

With this year’s theme “Paghugpong kag Pagbinuligay para sa Pag-umwad kang Banwa Paagi sa Debosyon kay Sr. Santo Nino,” series of special events will surely immerse visitors to their local culture opening with a Holy Mass at 4 p.m. at the Grandstand, Opening Program at 5:30 pm Torch Parade and Lighted Sto. Nino Competition at 6 p.m. all set on January 20 (Friday); January 21 (Saturday) Presentation and Talent Competition of the Search for Linghuron kag Hamtong nga Lin-ay kag Ulitao 2017 at 7 p.m.; January 22 (Sunday) Variety Show at 7 p.m.; January 23 (Monday) Linabugan Festival at 6 a.m., Cooking Competition at 6 p.m.; January 24 (Tuesday) Fashion Show featuring the designs of Hector “Totong” Gellangarin, Jun Bei “Chinnie Wong” Larroder, Renana “Yet-Yet” Lopez and Tomas “Sam” Panceles at 7 p.m.; January 25 (Wednesday) Adlaw Sang Mangunguma at 7 p.m.; January 26 (Thursday) Coronation Night of the Search for Linghuron nga lin-ay kag Ulitao 2017; January 28 (Saturday) Procession, Live Sto. Nino at 9 a.m.; Agape at 11 a.m., Festival of Mini Sound at 3 -7 p.m., Variety Show at 7 p.m.; January 29 (Sunday) Elders Ritual at 8:30 a.m., Tribe Competition at 9 a.m., Battle of the Sounds at 2 p.m., Awarding Ceremony and Fireworks Display at 8 p.m., Merry Making at 9 p.m.

The tribal dance performance opens with the Suguidanon. One tradition that is still being practiced by the Sulodnons or the Panay Bukidnon tribe, an indigenous group inhabiting the interior areas of Iloilo, Capiz and Antique Provinces, is the art of telling stories through chants locally known as Suguidanon. Done in ancient archaic language, the chanting of ancient stories uses a certain tone. The Suguidanon is orally transmitted from one generation to another. Chants which they knew by heart were memorized. It was taught to them since their childhood. The storytelling may sound magical and meditative-like to others and for some, listening to it can be a life-changing experience of spiritual awareness though sound.

An assigned chapter from the Hinilawod is to be interpreted through dance-drama each year. Hinilawod is an epic poem written by the early inhabitants of the Sulod tribe in Central Panay. This year the 6th epic of Labaw Donggon entitled “Saragnayan,” (the lord of darkness character in the epic) will be the theme of every performances.

The women dancers normally wear a Saipang for her top dress in dominant red or white with long narrow sleeves embellished with multi-colored geometric or floral patterns locally called as tubok. For her lower garment she wears a Patadyong, a wrap-around colourful checkered-patterned hand-woven cloth. A Binukot (a kept woman hidden from the public eye beginning her childhood) on special occasions, can wear a head piece locally known as Pudong---a narrow, red coloured cloth embellished with old coins; a Biningkit or a necklace made of multi-coloured glass beads and silver coins strung together. The Binukot is a skilled chanter and dancer being taught with oral lore and traditional dances as young as the age of 4 years old. She uses these accessories when she tasked to perform.

Hirinugyaw segment segues after the Suguidanon presentation where the mood is completely transformed during the last segment performances. The patron child Jesus is honoured through festive dances, thunderous drumbeats and colourful processions. Performers move out in rhythmic steps, with vociferous shouts and wild cries of joy with the occasional clapping of hands and jerky dances keep time to the beatings of the drums.

Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay Festival is one of Iloilo’s signature cultural events- attracting many to enjoy local arts and crafts, authentic local cuisine, traditional folkloric dance performances and children’s activities and performances- a true cultural experience for all.

The central town of Calinog is 59.3 kilometers away or an hour and 20 minute drive away from Iloilo City. It is comprised of 59 barangays on a land area of 23,280 hectares. It is bounded in the north by the municipality of Tapaz, Capiz; northeast by the municipality of Bingawan, Iloilo; northeast by the municipality of San Remegio, Antique; south by the town of Lambunao, Iloilo; southeast by the municipality of Dueńas, Iloilo and; southwest by the town of Valderama, Antique.

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. For more information, please contact, Chester Larrodel – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09491760006.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bayluhay Festival: A Recollection of Ancestors

San Joaquin, Iloilo will celebrate its 14th Bayluhay Festival on January 19, 2017 a Thursday at 2 p.m. This annual festivity is considered as one of the abiding features of their culture, the recollection of ancestors.

Set in an open field at the heart of the town, the festival’s home lies in an idyllic part of the province. Here, heritage area, overlook beautiful coastline, etched by lush farmland. It is a stunning spot where this this normally quiet corner comes alive to the sound of drums and cheers from the crowd.

The celebration of Bayluhay opens up a window into the lives of our forebears, their beliefs, their traditions, their customs, and their ceremonies. In a small way, we are able to see the connections between their lives hundreds of years ago and the present.

This festivity is part of the San Joaquinhon culture. Bayluhay, coined from the Hiligaynon word “Baylo” or “barter or to exchange” is a folk-history festival that commemorates the flight of the ten Bornean Datus from Borneo to the island of Panay using their binidays or boats. It was said that sometime in the first half of the 13th the datus purchased the land from the Aeta Chieftain Marikudo for a golden Salakot and a Manangyad or golden necklace.

It is a grand event where entire community come together to witness the re-enactment as centerpiece of their much-anticipated tribal dance competition.

The tribal dance competition has been widely supported by the public for years, with festival attendees and spectators taking part in each and every Bayluhay Festival, year in and year out. Other forms of entertainment are also included in this year’s 6-day Municipal Fiesta celebration: January 16 (Monday) Opening Day with a parade and Liga Night with special performance from the Hashtag; January 17 (Tuesday) Drum Corps Parade and the Search for Dayang Kang Bayluhay; January 18 (Wednesday) Fun Run; January 20 (Friday) Sarswela and Balikbayan Night; January 21 (Saturday) Pasungay and the Coronation of Municipal Fiesta Queen.

A ritual is performed before the annual tribal dance competition of the festivity. A ritual to welcome guest is done with utmost care to provide a spiritual experience for visitors to the festival. This ritual had been followed for past several years with the same respect that was used several hundred years ago.

The Bayluhay Festival is a time of togetherness and gratitude for the people of San Joaquin. It is a reminder of their ancestors, no wonder that this celebration of reflection and contemplation, more than any other, make them more mindful of others.

A Second Class municipality, San Joaquin is the last town south of the province of Iloilo. It is  85 kilometers away or an hour and twenty minute drive from Iloilo City. It has a land area of 23,135 hectares subdivided into 85 barangays.

To get to the town, one can take a San Joaquin jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, take any bus at the Antique Terminal in Molo or at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Miss Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09176619120.

San Joaquin Municipal Fiesta Highlights Pasungay

San Joaquin, Iloilo marks its Municipal Fiesta on January 16-21, 2017 with the annual Pasungay – Pahibag (Bull and Horse Fight) January 21, a Saturday at 9 a.m till 12 noon. The event is the highlight of its 6-day Municipal Fiesta celebration.

January 16 (Monday) Opening Day with a parade and Liga Night with special performance from the Hashtag; January 17 (Tuesday) Drum Corps Parade and the Search for Dayang Kang Bayluhay; January 18 (Wednesday) Fun Run; January 19 (Thursday) Bayluhay Festival Street Dance and Tribe Competition; January 20 (Friday) Sarswela and Balikbayan Night; January 21 (Saturday) Pasungay and the Coronation of Municipal Fiesta Queen.

Horse and bull fighting is a traditional sport in San Joaquin and has increased in popularity among its people, more and more San Joaquinhons began to take part, and horse and bull fights became part of its barangay to municipal fiesta. Later, it was designated as Pasungay.

The bull and horse fights lasts for only half a day and into the fight arena at the San Joaquin Sports Stadiumcome the magnificent and awesome bulls and horses, led by their owners. The muscled, sturdy bulls and horses gather in the arena are itching to fight. Then it starts. The first few pairs of bulls attack at each other using their horns, they spin around and the exciting and absorbing fight arouses cheers from the hundreds of crowds of spectators. Alternately, a pair of horse is brought inside the arena, pouncing at each other, they rear up and kick with their hind legs. Some spectators even climb trees to get a better view of the arena. Betting at times precedes the fight.

Ownership of a winning bull or horse is some form of a status symbol. Bulls and horses are not only primary means of transport used to carry people and crops to the lowlands, but as medium of exchange in lieu of money. At times, bulls and horses are given to a bride as a dowry. And of course, the worthier bulls and horses are those which won more fights in horse and bull fighting event.

San Joaquin is an unending succession of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) and mountain peaks. In between the sea and mountain are stretches of flat lands. People especially in the upland barangays of the town conduct bull or horse fights as a special featured event during celebrations as a form of thanksgiving or to honour a special guest during a celebrated occasion. This tradition dates back about hundreds of years.

A Second Class municipality, San Joaquin is the last town south of the province of Iloilo. It is 85 kilometers away or an hour and twenty minute drive from Iloilo City. It has a land area of 23,135 hectares subdivided into 85 barangays.

To get to the town, one can take a San Joaquin jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, take any bus at the Antique Terminal in Molo or at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Miss Erlyn Alunan – Municipal Tourism Officer at 09176619120.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Saad Festival: Marking an Important Religious Event in the Lives of Leganesnons

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Leganes, Iloilo, celebrates the festivity of St. Vincent Ferrer, the town’s patron saint with the annual Saad Festival celebrated this year on January 24 - 31, 2017. The celebration is one of the most-anticipated folk religious festivals in Iloilo. Parades and parties erupt in the area in his honour. It sees people near and far participating and celebrating.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Saad or ‘Vow,’ is one of the major festivals in Iloilo. It is a mixture of Catholic and ancient local influences. Various religious ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration marks the festivity adding colour and integrity to the municipality. The festival reinforces the presence of God in the life of every Leganesnons, their families and the community as a whole.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

St. Vincent Ferrer is the most beloved religious icon in Leganes. He is known as the Church’s greatest source of miracles and one of the most influential politicians, theologians, intellectuals and philosophers of his time. He is popularly known as the “Angel of Healing” because of his gift to cure the sick. Believers had recourse to him in every difficulty. He is also the patron saint of fishermen and builders.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

The party environment raises everyone's spirits as it is one occasion and opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones.  The Opening Salvo will be on scheduled January 24 (Tuesday); Miss Saad Pageant on January 27 (Friday); Sinadsad Dance Parade on January 30 (Saturday); Saad Cultural Presentation on a Sunday, January 31st.

The highlight of the festival is the cultural dance presentation which imbues a unique vibrancy. The presentations are dance-dramas likely to show suffering sin or shame other than worship. Folk dance steps are incorporated into the regular worship steps expressing joy in the dance and using a lot of additional arm movements. Traditionally, the arms are often raised up toward the sky, or in front of the body as if reaching out to God. The arms can also be held out to the sides to symbolize Christ, surrender to God, or openness to healing and restoration.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

The Palapak or the act of pressing the image of St. Vincent Ferrer on the head of a devotee is a special feature of the dance choreography. Palapak is a popular practice amongst many faithful who suffer from various sickness and even those with physical disabilities hoping that a miracle might happen through their patron’s intercession. It has been said that various miraculous healing have been attributed by the faithful to their vow of devotion to St. Vincent Ferrer.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Much of the music has a definite local flavour using a medley of old Hiligaynon favorites. Every performances ends with shouts of "San Vicente Ferrer, Igampo Mo Kami!," with a dance for joy to praise their patron saint for his deliverance.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

Now on its 13th year, Saad as a festival was previously celebrated every April in commemoration of his death anniversary. It was in 2015 that the month of January his birth month became the permanent town’s festival date.

photo by Ray Tabafunda

The Fourth Class municipality of Leganes is about 11 kilometers away or a 30-minute drive from Iloilo City. It is one of the 19 coastal towns of the province and the only coastal municipality that shares a common border with the city. The town is adjacent to Pavia in the southeast; in the west by Sta. Barbara; and in the north by Zarraga. To get there, one can take a jeepney at Jaro Plaza, Iloilo City. For more information, please call the Municipal Tourism Officer- Mr. Jerry Anas at (033) 3296622 or at 09127721033.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Binanog Festival: Promoting Cultural Heritage of Lambunao

Lambunao, Iloilo, is all set for the 14th Binanog Festival that will take place on January 5-8, 2017.  Binanog is a very popular festival of Iloilo and is the first major festival celebrated in the opening of every year.

With this year’s theme, “Binanog: Bugal nga Dunang Manggad kag Kultura kang Lambunaonon,” annual special events are conducted during the 4-day celebration. January 5 (Thursday) us the Opening Salvo with a Mass at 1:00 p.m., Motorcade at 2:00p.m., Opening Program at the Bandstand with a 3-minute performance from every participating tribe at 3:00p.m., Kinaadman Dos - a Painting Exhibit by Lambunaonon Artists at 5 p.m., Pasidungog kay Sr. Sto. Niῆo - a Torch Parade, Para-Liturgy and Praise and Worship Night at 6 p.m. and Sinadya sa Plaza at 10 p.m.

January 6 (Friday) IP Day with the theme,” Kulturang Bukidnon nga may Panimad-on, Ipabugal kag Padayunon,” will open with the IP Sinaot sa Dalan Paradeat 8 a.m., IP Program follows at 9 a.m., IP Food Festival at 12 noon, IP Sinadya kag Binayle at 1 p.m. onwards, Motor Show at 6 p.m., Stylized Folkdance Contest at 7 p.m., Sinadya sa Plaza  with Acoustic Band at 9 p.m.

January 7 (Saturday) Farmer’s Day “Fiesta sang Mangunguma” at 7 a.m., LAKAN-DIWA-TA LGBT Induction of Officers and Basketball Friendship Game at 8 a.m., Launching of 6-36months Feeding Program by Negrense Volunteer for Change with Vice President Maria Leonore G. Robredo at 11 a.m., Motor Show (Open Category – Iloilo City) at 1 p.m., Lambunao Binanog Festival Queen Talent Competition at 2 p.m., 8:00p.m., Lambunao Binanog Festival Queen Coronation Night at 8 p.m.

January 8 (Sunday) Mass for Competing Tribes at 12 noon, Opening Program and Tribe Competition with 3 Judging Areas (New Gymnasium, front of market and plaza), the Dance-Drama Presentation with the theme, “Binanog, Bugal nga Dunang Manggad kag Kultura kag Lambunaonon,” featuring the six competing tribes at  1 p.m.,  Merry Making at 4 p.m., Awarding (Bandstand) at 6:30 p.m., Fireworks Display at 7:30 p.m., Sinadya sa Plaza with Live Band at 9 p.m.

Dance, music, performance are still today a very important part of Indigenous life and customs. There were dances and songs for every occasion, some of which were expressed in special ceremonies. The mountain ranges of Panay, connecting the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz and Antique has some of the most amazingly beautiful and rich indigenous cultures in the Philippines. It contains some of the most complex folk dances and music styles that you will meet.

For the towns of Lambunao and Calinog in Iloilo, the Binanog dance is one of the most commonly practiced folk dances. You can find it being performed in special occasions such as festivals and other local celebrations in Iloilo and continues to remain the most popular amongst our indigenous dances. It is a dance often seen performed in two major festivals of Iloilo: Lambunao (Binanog) and Calinog (Hinirugyaw-Suguidanonay) and is often performed by large groups of people even though it is a dance of two.

This courtship dance is said to have been inspired by the mating of Banog birds. It is a mix of indigenous flare with the popular beating of a gong. For the Panay Bukidnons, the word Binanog translates to a dance of twos, or dancing in pairs, a male and a female.

There can be several formations that the dancers perform. The steps are fast and mostly with stamping movements. The man follows the woman throughout the majority of the movement and the man is typically very happy and celebratory by nature. The base dance for Binanog is ethnic which imitates life. The banog bird (hawk) becomes the inspiration for this dance complemented with a courtship dance. The choreography is lively where hands are extended as if imitating a bird in flight. The legs are stomping creating a unique beat as the male dancer observes his female counterpart as if pursuing her by following her steps. A handkerchief or a bandana is an important prop to the dance. The dance ends with the girl trying to catch the boy using her handkerchief or bandana. You can find the constant sound of a gong.

In all its dance performances there is a particular dress code. When performed by the indigenous people the men are typically found wearing black or red pants with black or red top with embroidered (tubok) patterns with red bandanas tied around their heads. The women can be seen wearing a “pudong” or a headpiece made of old coins, exposing their faces. A “biningkit” or an adornment of old coins for the neck. Their tops are In red or white with embroidered patterns and a patadyong draped as a skirt with a piece of cloth wrap around their waists.

Dances, songs and performances have been part of our indigenous culture since it began. It is part of our history and they play a vital part in our present culture. Tourism can widely contribute to the wealth of Iloilo in promoting its cultural heritage.

Thanks to the role of our local festivals in protecting and conserving our heritage and in the promotion of cultural diversity. The annual celebration of cultural festivities promotes the essential interaction between protecting the cultural heritage and cultural development of a locality.

Lambunao is a second class municipality in the third district of the province of Iloilo. The town is comprised of 73 barangays and is 48-kilometer or an hour leisure trip by either van or bus from the terminal fronting Christ the King Memorial Park in Jaro, Iloilo City. For more information, please contact Miss Jennifer Osorio- Municipal Tourism Officer at 09199950593.

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