A unique festival of ethnic custom and tradition
By ROGER BALANZA & MEL N. VELEZ
QUEZON, Bukidnon –Sunggod Ta Kamanga, this municipality’s annual festival in honor of its original inhabitants—the Manobos—came to a close last week with Mayor Gregorio Gue expressing elation at the highly successful three-day celebration.
An ethnic showcase of Quezon’s origins, the festival focused on Manobos and its sub-tribes
Matigsalog, Pulangihon, Omayamnon, Tigwahanon who have retained their culture, customs
and tradition and are vital cogs in the municipality’s social and economic development.Again we have relived our past in a thanksgiving to honor the Manobos, said Mayor Gue, saying the large crowd of locals and tourists that attended the February 20 to 22 event meant that Sunggod Ta Kamanga has become one of the major tourist attractions not only in Bukidnon but also in Mindanao. The festival is listed by the Department of Tourism as among the country’s must-see festivals.
HIGHLIGHTSWith Department of Tourism (DOT) Region 10 Director Catalino Chan III and Mayor Gue and First Lady Carmen Capistrano Gue leading local officials and guests, the festival opened with the ethnic tradition of thanking Mambabaya in the “PATUKAW Ritual’’ seeking permission and blessing for the success of the festival and thanking the deity for bountiful harvest, good health and harmonious relationship among residents.
Other events were the civic and cultural parade, street dancing and tribal rites like “Panalabugta’’ – a ritual prior to crop planting, and “Sawit’’ –a thanksgiving ritual for good harvest led by Datu Namaog Lantong. Also a big crowd drawer were the “Paratuan’’- the installation of Mayor Gue by Datu Jesus Baday as honorary tribal leader, and the ‘’Padtungan ta Kasal’’ – the tribal wedding of Vivian Anglao, daughter of Datu Carlito Anglao and Dreamrus Escoto, son of Mr. & Mrs. Judy Escoto.Other top drawers in the event were the “Laga Ta Kiokong 2011,’’ the search for the festival queen; cultural presentations farming rituals by tribal communities that included “ Bangkakaw’’, ‘’Binaki’’, ‘’Inamo’’, ‘’Binanog’’, ‘’Panlang’’, ‘’Panlintubo’’, ‘’Panradnas’’, ‘’Kudlong and Saluray’’, ‘’Inagong’’, ‘’Pupohag’’, and ‘’Pig-agawan. ’’
The Tribal Disco at Freedom Park lured young generation Manobos, with QMG Ethnic Ensemble and 7 Hill Tribes Band of Cagayan de Oro playing tribal music.Sports was not left out of the festival with the holding of the highly-attended ‘’Laro ng Lahi’’, a competition portraying various ethnic sports like ‘’Bag-id Ha Kagtubo’’-(fire building activity), ‘’Kag-asu Daw Pasili’’ –( producing clean rice), ‘’Banlak’’ – (human tug of war), ‘’Galing Ta Bato Hu Kamais’’ – (corn grinding using stone grinder), ‘’Duso’’-(pestle pushing), ‘’Sagakad (kadangkadang)-(stilt race), ‘’Kagbiak’’-(timber splitting), ‘’Kagpana’’(bow arrow & arrow target shooting), ‘’Kagbunlawit’’-(target shooting using bangkaw), ‘’Magalang Ha Badi’’ (Dasaya)- (abaca slashing contest using sharp bolo), and ‘’Dumadasig’’ – (cheering contest). CULTURE AND TRADITION
My genuine recognition of the Manobo-Matigsalog culture and tradition encouraged me to continue to uphold the tribal leadership for them to unify and form a federation as one solidified group. Such federation will have a representative to voice their tribal concerns, said Mayor Gue during his welcome speech.Mayor Gue also aims to enhance literacy among the lumads through scholarship programs for the Manobos as part of over-all efforts for the Manobos to have a greater awareness of their culture and tradition.Director Chan was highly impressed by the unique tribal festival, and urged the younger Manobos to continue to preserve their culture and tradition .
Director Chan said the Manobo of Quezon would be among those to be invited in April as one of the presenters in a cultural show during the Tourism Month celebration in Manila; and would be featured in DOT coffee table magazine. This year’s celebration was joined by Central Mindanao University (CMU) anthropology professor Dr. Villorino Sumingit and his anthropology students who documented the festival for their cultural research study.
Mrs. Gue, co-chair of the municipal tourism council, said this year’s celebration in a grand scale would be replicated next year, as Quezon continues to pray and thank God ‘’Mambabaya’’ for bountiful harvest, good health and peaceful and harmonious relationship among people of the municipality.