Sunday, April 2, 2017

Explore Guimbal Through Bantayan Festival

Guimbal, Iloilo will celebrate its 15th Bantayan Festival on April 4-8, 2017. The community under the leadership of Mayor Oscar Garin enjoys the effort to make this celebration happen each year, allowing the opportunity to share their local history and culture beyond their locality.

All events are family-friendly and fun for all ages. April 4 (Tuesday) Foundation Day Opening, Food Festival and Agro Fair, Liturgical Mass at 2 p.m., Grand Parade with Float and Street Dancing Competition at 3 p.m., Drum Beat Competition at 7 p.m.;  April 5 (Wednesday) Search for Anyag Kang Bantayan at 8 p.m.; April 6 (Thursday) Boat Racing, Pinta Lawas and Canvass Painting Contest at 8 a.m. at Bantayan Beach Resort, Re-enactment of the Moro Raids in Bantayan Beach Resort at 2:30 p.m., 13th Bantayan Film Festival at 8 p.m.; April 7 (Friday) Motorcross in Guimbal River at 8 a.m., Car Show at 4 p.m.,Bantayan Celebrity Night and Intensity Dance Competition; April 8 (Saturday) Festival Day – Tribal Dance Drama Competition at 2 p.m., Merry Making at 5 p.m., Awards Night and Fireworks Competition at 9:30 p.m.

The annual Bantayan Festival celebration becomes not only an intrinsic part of their local culture but also a celebrated art form. This is especially true for dance-drama presentation that continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Guimbalanons. The tribal dance-drama presentations nurture a positive mind-set amongst its people especially the younger generation.

The presentation promotes sharing of local history and culture, bringing out identity of Guimbalanons to its visitors. In the early 17th and 18th century in the Philippines, Muslim pirate havens were established along the central coast, in the Visayas. Many of the settlements including Panay were devoted to piracy.

The Moros of Jolo and Maguindanao on their piratical fleet, the caracoas, swept the coasts of Panay were they ravaged everything. Their towns looted and burned, and their inhabitants carried off as slaves. Some areas were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants, discouraging settlement.

Parish priests and the townspeople set up their own defences by building watchtowers or Bantayans of stone along the coasts to spread warning signals to the nearby towns. The Bantayans in the streets of Barangays Tuguisan, C. Colon and Pescadores were among the chain of fortifications erected by the Spaniards throughout the area. These Bantayans have become instrumental in securing the area for defense and to protect their peaceful community from constant piratical attacks. The guimba---an ancient instrument that resembled a drum was used by beating it by hand to send messages from Bantayan to Bantayan to warn the community of an incoming raid.

There are many more historic festivals dotted throughout the province of Iloilo, reminding us of our vibrant community and the thriving culture, in spite of the many challenges. If you are exploring local history in Iloilo, festivals are a great start.

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. It has a land area of 44.61 square kilometers politically subdivided into 33 barangays. For more information, please contact Karen Gayanilo-Felicio at 09082865480.

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