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KAAMULAN 2011 – IPs showcase rich cultural beginnings

by Ann Noble, Bukidnon Bureau Chief

Maramag’s Maria Kristel Reina Atoz ( 2nd), Manolo Fortich’s Christine Maria Cubero ( 1st), Bb. Bukidnon 2011 Jayn Amor Acera, Gov. Alex Calingasan, Libona town’s Wella Jhanna Taruc (3rd) and Malaybalay City’s Pearly Dawn Timoteo (4th).

MALAYBALAY City — All roads led to the main Fortich Street of this city as the much awaited Kaamulan 2011 ethnic street dancing unfolded on Saturday, February 5.

This year’s major activity of the annual “gathering” was made more significant with added touches of ethnic spectacle through its theatrical presentation.

Starting with the indigenous ritual “Pamalas”, invoking to Magbabaya (God or the Ruler of all) for a peaceful celebration, this year’s Kaamulan ethnic theatrical street-dancing was held with much flourish and authenticity as the province’s indigenous peoples took active participation in all the activities initiated by the provincial government.

The Kaamulan 2011 is celebrated to recognize the indigenous peoples of Bukidnon and its rich cultural heritage. The festival also aims to showcase the economic potentials of the province and its vast natural resources.

The beat of the drums, the music from the bantula/saluray (ethnic bamboo instruments that resembles the guitar and used to accompany the native dances) as well as the haunting melody from the palandang (bamboo flute) were quite contagious, the rhythm of the music felt by the people and participants of the eight contingents joining the street dance.

This year’s participating contingents came from the municipalities of Manolo Fortich, Lantapan, Kadingilan, Libona, Sumilao, Baungon and the two cities of Bukidnon, Malaybalay and Valencia.

As early as six in the morning, throngs of spectators lined up the city’s main street to get a front view of the festival’s highlights, the Kaamulan street dancing and the ground cultural presentation of Bukidnon dances and rituals that followed the street theater.

The Pamalas ritual was simultaneously done in two areas, the Panangkila at the starting point in front of Pine Hills Hotel (along Fortich Street) and at the Capitol Grounds where the cultural presentations were performed.

Fireworks display wowed the audience after a soulful rendition of the national anthem by the Bukidnon State University Chorale.

A 2-minute simultaneous playing of instruments by all participants of the activity commenced the ethnic street dancing which went through all the way towards the Capitol Grounds.

Each contingent had a float bedecked with each town or city’s products, showcasing not just its presentation’s storyline but the economic viability of each place.

Tourism Under Secretary Atty. Ma. Victoria V. Jasmis, Usec of Tourism regulation and coordination and resource generation graced the activity and was the guest speaker during the ground presentation’s program. Also present were Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and Malaysian Ambassador Dr. Ibrahim Saad.

The Kaamulan 2011 ethnic street dancing was the festival’s main event showcasing Bukidnon’s rich historical past and its indigenous inhabitants.

The participating contingents depicted various storylines of native customs and rituals portrayed through authentic dances and songs made more spectacular with the native drums and musical instruments.

This year’s celebration of the “gathering,” as Kaamulan signifies, made a difference as more indigenous activities were organized for the 3-week celebration that started February 18 and culminates on March 10, Bukidnon’s foundation day.

Kaamulan is a yearly gathering and thanksgiving of the province’s seven different tribes namely: Talaandig, Higa-onon, Bukidnon, Umayamnon, Matigsalug, Manobo and Tigwahanon.

Highlights of this ethnic festival are indigenous activities like the convention of the representatives of the seven hill tribes at the Tulugan, Capitol Grounds, tribal Olympics featuring indigenous games played by the IPs themselves, the tribal mass wedding on March 7, ethnic dance clinic during the street dancing, a night of Bukidnon music featuring lumad artists, Bansagen which is an art exhibit of the works of some IP artists and the Pinilyapan hu Bukidnon.

Kaamulan 2011 also featured the province’s economic potentials through its garden show, agri-fair, food fest, Kaamulan bazaar and the livestock show showcasing Bukidnon’s cattle and livestock industries.

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