Malaybalay’s “first quest for peace in Bukidnon” wins Kaamulan 2011 street dancing

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/06 March) — Malaybalay City’s contingent, which featured the Kulahi Hu Kaglandang Iglalawan (the shout for peace in the Central Mindanao area), won Saturday’s Street dancing-street theater competition and Ground presentation, one of the highlights of Bukidnon’s Kaamulan 2011.

The contingent won over seven other groups representing local government units, each of which interpreted epics of the province’s seven hill tribes in the competition viewed by thousands of spectators along Fortich Street, the city’s main thoroughfare and in the Capitol Grounds.

The Bukidnon provincial government has decided to improve on the street dancing competition by infusing the requirement that contingents tell stories of the province’s epics through street theater to make it as close as possible to the indigenous people’s culture. But this year’s contest is the last. The Provincial Indigenous Communities Affairs Division announced that next near there will no longer be a contest but a presentation for a better public understanding of Bukidnon’s culture and history.

The winning group’s presentation, based on its summarized storyline, featured the Tampuda Hu Balagen, a traditional peace pact, which culminated centuries old conflict between the Maranaos and the Talaandigs and the Maguindanaons and the Manobos.

In their presentation, they featured the descendants of ancient patriarch Agbilin. When he died, he left to his eight children the Panawagan, the “jar of peace.” He instructed the children that whenever there is misunderstanding, the peace maker should pour oil from the jar, comb the hair of the parties involved, then “vanish angry hearts and minds” to establish lasting peace.

The children went on separate ways and later became the parents of the Maranao, the Maguindanao in the west, the Manobo in the east, and the Talaandig, who remained in the center of Pignanawan, Bukidnon’s ancient name.

Due to territorial boundary conflicts, these peoples experienced long and devastating wars between them. After a long time, people clamored for peace.

Datu Malengmeng, then the high Datu of the Talaandig convinced the four tribes to settle the conflict  through the traditional peace pact.

According to the story, to seal the peace pact, a Maranao leader married a Talaandig lady; while the Maguindanao married a Manobo princess.

The storyline showed that the first Kaamulan, originally a wedding feast, took place at the resolution of the conflict.

Aside from the portrayal of the Lumad, Malaybalay City’s contingent included participants who wore traditional clothes of the Maranao and Maguindanao.

The municipality of Libona bagged the second place in the street theater competition and third place in the ground presentation. The contingent featured the ancient Kingdom of Nalandangan, led by epic hero Agyu. The group portrayed men against women warfare as warriors from an envious group from ancient Saguilan kingdom attacked when the men were away to perform a ritual seeking Talabusao, the spirit guardian of war to give them courage and victory.
The municipality of Manolo Fortich won the second place for the ground presentation. They featured the family of epic hero Agyu’s refusal to be converted to Christianity and the succeeding events of Undayag, his mother and family’s escape to and life in Mt. Kitanglad.

Valencia City’s contingent won third place in the street theater, which featured the marriage of Tabagka, a sister of epic hero Agyu, to a prince at the sea kingdom. The group featured sea creatures, which became obstacles to Agyu’s journey to the sea to meet the prince.

Malaybalay City’s float won third place. The city used bamboo and adorned it with locally produced fruits and crops like pineapple, rice and corn.

Libona town won the second place with a float adorned with hinabol cloth and crops and flowers from the town.

The municipality of Lantapan won first in the float competition. The town used a snake’s head as design, depicting Apu Mananalsal, a king from another kingdom, who turned himself into a huge snake to capture Agyu’s people. Eventually, Agyu’s people won the battle against the intruders.

The float was adorned with hand woven mats as snake’s skin with fruits and vegetables produced in the town as ornaments.

Baungon town’s float featured the giant flower Rafflesia, which is found in the town’s remote areas.

Domestic courier LBC also gave special awards. Lantapan town won for “Best Music” and “Best in Choreography,” Valencia City for “LBC Customers’ Choice,” and Kadingilan for “Best in Street Presentation.”

The street dancing featured the indigenous people’s harmony with nature, as depicted in the presentation and floats.

Aside from Lantapan, other contingents featured animals.  Malaybalay’s contingent mimicked monkeys.   Kadingilan’s contingent featured a carabao. Libona had dancers dressed as chickens, using chicken feathers as headdress. Valencia City had dancers dressed up like turtles, octopus, sea horse and other legendary creatures like mermaids.

Common among the themes portrayed in the presentations were bloody battles. The warriors of the municipality of Kadingilan used actual bolos in their presentations. But there were also those that featured planting and harvesting rituals. Aside from peace pacts, the other contingents featured courtship and heroism.

Most of the performers were students from the participating towns and cities. But there were also Lumads in the contingent, many of them in the Baungon contingent. The Lumads in the group led the presentation.

The contingents also used traditional musical instruments like the bantula and agong, but some used recorded traditional music to enhance their audio impact.

Elementary teachers of the Bukidnon State University said they want to know more of the stories so they can also share it with their pupils.

Some teachers from the Department of Education in Bukidnon assigned their students to get details of their performances. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)