Kaamulan organizers want street dancing participants to stick to Bukidnon’s culture

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 Jan) – Organizers of this year’s Kaamulan Festival in are changing the rules for the street dancing competition, the festivities’ highlights, so that it will focus on the seven hill tribes of Bukidnon and prevent modifications so as to protect and preserve the province’s true culture.

Erlow Talatala, member of the provincial tourism council, said that performance of every contingent will have to be based on the “Ulaging Hu Agyu,” which is the epic of Agyu, the immortal hero of the Manobo people

Talatala said that it was discussed during last week’s meeting of the Kaamulan organizing committee that they will orient choreographers so they would not inject modifications that could cast wrong information to the audience. One of the initiators of the Kaamulan Festival, Dr. Carmen C. Unabia, will reportedly be among those to give the briefing.

This year’s street dancing contest will be participated by the municipalities of Maramag, Manolo Fortich, Libona, Kadingilan, Sumilao, Lantapan, Baungon and the cities of Valencia and Malaybalay.

The provincial government has approved the subsidy of P100,000 for every contingent.

In the past festivities, the street dancing drew criticism from historians and tribal leaders for its alleged mocking of the culture and traditional dances and costumes of the Lumads of Bukidnon.

Organizers have also excluded events that have no significance to the province’s celebration of its culture.

The activities include boxing and motocross, which will be incorporated in the activities of the Malaybalay City Charter Day celebration on March 22. The Kaamulan Festival opens on Feb. 18 and will close on March 10, the anniversary of the founding of the province.

The ukay-ukay and burloloys stalls will also be transferred to the Plaza Rizal to be handled by the Malaybalay City government, Talatala added.

He said Gov. Alex Calingasan also cancelled the invitational basketball tournament, which attracts professional basketball players, due to its “insignificance in relation to the cultural essence of the festival and lack of potential opportunities to the people of Bukidnon.”

The Bukidnon ethnic song writing and workshop, however, was incorporated to the “Night of Bukidnon Artists” as their final recital on February 28 at the capitol stage. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)