Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Salakayan: Preserving, Sharing and Promoting Miagao’s History

Miagao, Iloilo will celebrate its 302nd Foundation Anniversary alongside its annual Salakayan Festival on February 4-11, 2017. Salakayan rivals other provinces’ for its colour and creativity. Fancy period costumes, giant papier-maches and community spirit enliven the first week of Arts Month.

Now in its 20th year, the celebration is the town’s way of thanking and remembering the heroism of their ancestors. It gives everyone with an interest in history the chance to witness historical events interpreted thru dance-drama. It has quickly become a cultural gem for the provincial calendar. With a diverse, family-friendly focus, the festival will stage an eclectic range of events and activities throughout the eight-day celebration.

With this year’s theme, “Kasaysayan kag Kutura kang Miagao: Sa Salakayan kag Hablon aton Makit-an!’ the festival has prepared series of special events starting February 4 (Sunday) at 6 p.m., Soft Opening of Food Fair at the Miagao Town Plaza with the MVS Batch 68 Golden Alumni Homecoming and Jubilarians Night at the Miagao Town Plaza at 6:30 p.m.; February 5 (Monday) Pamukaw at 5 a.m., Salakayan Mass at 9 a.m., Opening of Agro-Trade Fair at 10 a.m., Opening Salvo Street Dancing Competition at 2 p.m., Opening of Food Fair at 5 p.m., Salakayan Re-enactment at 6 p.m., and Live Band at 7 p.m.;  February 6 (Tuesday) Cavalcade of Dances at 2 p.m., Zumba Festival at 5 p.m., MCES Alumni Night at 6:30 p.m.

February 7 (Wednesday) Laro ng Lahi at 10:30 a.m., Search for Miss Salakayan 2018 at 7 p.m.; February 8 (Thursday) Miagao Arts Competition at 10 a.m. till 3 p.m., Balikbanwa Night at 7 p.m.; February 9 (Friday) Mass and Fluvial Parade at 8 a.m., Cultural Show: Sleeping Beauty at 12 noon; Games at Sea at 10:30 a.m., Higante Contest at 4 p.m., Liga Night at 7 p.m.; February 10 (Saturday) Salakayan Tribe Competition at 8 a.m., Car Show at 1 p.m., Float Parade at 3 p.m., Tribes’ Night at 7 p.m.; February 11 (Sunday) Mass at 7:15 a.m., Motorcross at 8 a.m., Agape at 8:30 a.m., Car Show at 1 p.m., Coronation of the Queen of Miagao 2018 at 9 p.m.

The local government headed by the very active and tourism-oriented Mayor, Hon. Macario Napulan works hard to preserve, share and promote Miagao’s heritage. It is part of the organizer’s commitment to build awareness of the festivity as the memory of the town and encouraging interest in the history of Miagao and beyond.

A special feature of the presentation are the literally “giants and big heads,” are a common sight at the celebration. They parade through the streets, the giants representing traditional or historical figures and the big heads even tease children and at times chase them. A giant’s costume can be up to thirteen feet tall, draped on a frame sitting on a dancer’s shoulders, and big heads are worn over a costume, covering the face and torso. All performers wear elaborately designed papier-mâché heads.

Taken from the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack,” the core of the celebration is based on a locally famous battle fought in May 7, 1754. Every year the citizens remember their victorious liberation against the Muslim pirates with their constant piratical activities and slave-hunting expeditions in the area. The storyline is the base of the individual performances during the annual tribe competition that will take centre stage on February 10 (Saturday) at 8 a.m.

Approximately 40.5 kilometers or an hour ride south from the city is the scenic town of Miagao,  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. It has a land area of 13,286 hectares politically subdivided into 199 barangays.

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.

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