KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/03 September) — Erstwhile sleepy towns in North Cotabato last week took center stage as they played host to some of the activities of the week-long Kalivungan Festival.
Aleosan Mayor Loreto Cabaya said distributing the hosting of the events to different towns allowed residents to actively take part in the celebration. Usually, festivals are held only in the province’s seat of government in Amas, Kidapawan City.
“The people in the sleepy towns enjoyed and (the events) made these towns alive,” said Cabaya.
In Aleosan, around a thousand people gathered to watch the championship round of the “Batang Cotabato” boxing tournament held in front of the old town hall along the Cotabat-Davao national highway.
The team from President Roxas bagged the championship, beating all of its opponents from Aleosan, Kidapawan and M’lang.
The mayor said the elimination fights started as early as January this year.
Carmen Vice Mayor Moises Arendain shared Cabaya’s view that last week’s Kalivungan Festival, made the towns feel they are also part of the celebration. He said it would be good to replicate this in the municipal setting where events would be distributed for hosting by different barangays.
Kalivungan, a Manobo term for gathering and festivity, was first held on May 8, 1974. It was stopped in 1984 for lack of funds and was revived in 1996.
In 1999, then Governor Emmanuel Piñol renamed the festivity to Hinugyaw, a Hiligaynon term which means boisterous merrymaking.
Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza said it is not for her to say if the festival was successful or not.
“I leave that to the people to judge,” she said.
Different towns, different attractions
Among the most awaited of the 38 events was the motocross competition held in the remote town of Arakan.
Riders from different towns in the province and neighboring Davao del Sur and South Cotabato participated in the competition.
Arakan is around 54 kilometers from this city and is a two-hour jeepney ride.
Pikit town featured the traditional Maguindanaon game of “Sepa sa Mangis,” a traditional game which includes a dance-like kicking of the rattan ball towards the manguis or the prize-pot.
On August 31, the Lumba sa Pulangi, a banca race participated in by fisherfolk from the towns of Arakan, Carmen, Kabacan, Matalam and Pikit, was held in Barangay Ugalingan in Carmen.
In Libungan, a two-day traditional event on August 30 to 31 called Kavurunan, featured a tribal forum, traditional sports, cultural shows, Mutya ng Kavurunan and a tribal mass wedding.
In the nearby town of Alamada, an 8-kilometer water tubing called “Lumba-anay sa Salbabida” at the Alamada-Libungan River kicked off from Barangay Kitacubong in Alamada to Barangay Kamansi in Libungan.
On September 1, thousands of people trooped to the capitol grounds for the street dancing competition and Kumbira sa Kapitolyo, the culminating events of the festival.
Of the eight contingents that participated in the street dancing competition, the Alamada contingent won against the dancers from Pikit, Pigcawayan, Kabacan, Carmen,Arakan, Banisilan and Midsayap.
The Alamada contingent will represent the province in next year’s Sinulog Festival in Cebu City.
Secretary Luwalhati Antonino, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), delivered her 10-minute speech as the Arakan contingent was about to perform under the scorching heat of the sun.
“Sa mga nagpe-perform, napakaganda ng palabas. Kami po ay nag-eenjoy, hindi mainit sa amin” (To those performing, the show is really good. We are enjoying. It is not hot here), said Antonino, who stood on a platform at the grandstand.
After the street dancing, the crowd flocked to the “Kumbira sa Kapitolyo,”(Feast at the Capitol) where 30,000 packed meals had been prepared.
The meal, consisting of a cup of rice, fried chicken, beef steak and bottled water, could be had for only P20.
Mendoza said proceeds from the packed meals would go to the Jesus the Good Shepherd Quasi Parish near the provincial capitol. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)