(Feature) Bicol festivals convene in Daet for regional showdown

June 24, 2015 10:21 am 

By Danny O. Calleja

LEGAZPI CITY, June 21 (PNA) — Leading Bicol festivals will be featured in Daet, Camarines Norte on June 23 for this year’s grand showdown that is expected to put the historic town in a state of euphoria as it celebrates its Pinyasan Festival and Foundation Anniversary.

Pinyasan Festival, now on its 23rd year, is a yearly celebration showcasing Daeteños' unique arts, culture, capabilities in fostering their heritage and vast environmental resources gifted with land where the world’s sweetest pineapple, the queen Formosa, abundantly grows.

The festival will run for 10 days starting from its kick-off last June 15, the municipality’s foundation day, and will culminate on June 24, the feast day of St. John the Baptist, its patron saint.

It is one of Camarines Norte’s tourism promotion tools being initiated by the municipal government.

It features agro-industrial fair, beauty tilts, historical-cultural presentations and different sports events.

Daet’s Foundation Anniversary celebration this year, its 432nd, is a commemoration of its birth when decreed as a municipality by the Spanish government on June 15, 1583, which marked its evolution from an ancient settlement that dated back from the time of Tabon cavemen or long before the discovery of the Philippines by Magellan in 1521 into a progressive provincial capital.

In celebrating the anniversary this year, Mayor Tito Sarion led ceremonies in front of the Rizal monument, the first-ever to be erected in the Philippines in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal, which the municipality takes a distinctive pride for owning.

Unlike the usual Rizal monuments that can be seen in other places of the country and abroad, the one in Daet, whose construction was started on Dec. 30, 1898, two years after the national hero's death, is a three-tiered stone pylon with its square base supporting a triangle in two stages.

Organized by the regional office here of the Department of Tourism (DOT), the festive encounter dubbed as Gayon Bikol Festival of Festivals is a yearly event, now on its 13th, focuses on the best festivals of the region, considering its importance as one attraction for tourism.

DOT Regional Director Maria Ong-Ravanilla explains that festivals usually depict the host locality’s rich culture and traditions, showcase their primary products, feature sports events distinct in an area and display Bicolanos’ talents through artistry and creativity.

Capitalizing on these assets, Ravanilla said her office holds the showdown of festivals to create in the region a tourism culture, foster unity and cooperation and ultimately attain the common goal towards economic prosperity through tourism.

This Daet encounter will be a grand and unique display of colors, culture and grace to be performed by 12 contingents representing major festivals in each of the six provinces of Bicolandia known to be the region with the most number of festivals compared to its counterparts across the country, she said.

Among the contingents are this city’s Ibalong Festival; Daragang Magayon Festival of Albay; Cagsawa Festival of Daraga, Albay; Sunflower Festival of Ligao City; Bulan, Sorsogon’s Padaraw Festival; Tabak Festival of Tabaco City; Rodeo Masbateño and Lapay Bantique, both of Masbate; Palong Festival of Capalonga, Camarines Norte; Iriga City’s Tinagba Festival; and Boa Boahan Festival of Nabua, Camarines Sur.

Ibalong, which is the only non-religious festival in Bicol, depicts the region’s early beginning as portrayed by the characters in the epic entitled Ibalong, the name which was the early nomenclature of Bicolandia.

Showcasing ancient superheroes led by Handiong, Baltog and Bantong, the festival is highlighted by a street presentation where masks and costumes of heroes and villains are paraded on main streets, combined with songs and dances.

The month-long Daragang Magayon Festival is a yearly cultural fare of Albay that has consistently and successfully given the province's tourism the needed boost.

The DOT has declared Albay as a "tourism powerhouse" and predicted to lead in the next major wave of the country's tourist inflow.

Cagsawa Festival, which showcases the cultural life of Daragueños, is a historical and religious celebration in honor of Daraga town’s patron saint, the Our Lady of the Gate, while Sunflower Festival depicts religious, cultural and economic transformation of Ligao City from a second-class municipality to a booming metropolis.

Hence, it is a celebration of cityhood that took place in 2001 and its being nicknamed the Sunflower City because of the abundance of the flowers that bloom in vast farms, gardens and road sides of the city during the month of May each year.

Bulan’s Padaraw Festival is a showcase of colorful costumes fashioned from the abaca fiber and Tabaco City’s Tabak Festival derived its name from a local word “Tabak” meaning bolo, where the name of the city was taken from being known for its cutlery industry.

It highlights street dancing of participants in colorful costumes showcasing the legend of the city.

The Rodeo Masbateño is Masbate province’s annual competition which showcases skills in livestock handling, such as lassoing, wrestling, and riding cattle that draw people from the rest of the Philippines and around the world.

Masbate is considered the “Cattle Country of the Philippines” and international cowboys and bull riders also participate in the competitions.

Lapay Bantigue, on the other hand, is celebrated during the Masbate City’s anniversary on Sept. 30, highlighting the traditional folk dance that imitates the graceful movement of the seagull, locally known as “lapay.”

Capalonga’s Palong Festival is religious festivity highlighted by a pilgrimage where people come in thousands to give their respect to the town’s miraculous Patron Saint, the Black Nazarene during its feast day every May 13.

Featuring street dancing and agro-industrial fair, the festival also showcases the local folks’ way of expressing gratitude for etymology of the town’s name that signifies the abundant presence of “Palong Manok” or rooster’s comb plant.

Iriga’s Tinagba Festival, meanwhile, is derived from the ancient Bicolano rituals of offering their first harvest of the year to their own gods as a form of thanksgiving and to seek favor for a more bountiful harvest throughout the year, coinciding with the feast of the city’s patroness, the Our Lady of Lourdes.

Finally, Nabua’s Boa Boahan is a colorful cultural festival of pagan origin derived from the dialect “alinsangan,” a word that describes the characteristics of the people living in the early settlements.

It is a festival showing fertility and thanksgiving — fertility, because Boa was taken from the young embryo of the coconut, and thanksgiving for it was their only source of food after the ravage of floodwaters.

This grand event will be a big boost to the tourism industry of Daet which is world-famous for its Bagasbas Beach, the yearly venue of the international surfing and kiteboarding competition during summer for its long stretch of magnificent beach which the DOT has accredited as a surfing spot, according to Ravanilla.

And since the Gayon Bicol Festival of Festivals is a big competition, she said the contingent to be declared as this year’s champion will receive a cash prize of PhP 500,000; first runner-up, PhP 300,000; and second runner-up, PhP 200,000 — apart from special cash awards to be given to best in costume and best in moving choreography, among others, she added. (PNA)

SCS/FGS/DOC/CBD/SSC

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