Talakag, Malitbog win Kaamulan 2014 street dancing competitions 

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/31 Aug) –The contingent from the municipality of Talakag was declared champion of the two-day Kaamulan 2014 street dancing competition here.

The group performed, according to their storyline, the “Panumaid ‘hu Talaandig daw Higaonon” which features Binatula, a practice of driving away bad entities, marking the start of preparation for the next cropping season.

The Talaandigs thrive in Talakag and are described as a proud, peace-loving and culturally rich people. According to their storyline, “the tribe co-existed in the community along with the Maranaos of Lanao region.”

“Years of economic contact with its neighboring community led to inter-marriages and acculturation that produced a blend of distinct Talaandig culture, making them notable among all other tribes in Bukidnon,” the storyline provided by the contingent said.

The Talakag group performed as contingent no. 10 on August 30, the first day of presentations.

Quezon town was first runner up for street dancing with its performance featuring Tulalang, the leader of a tribe who lives in mythical Nalandangan. San Fernando placed second runner up with its performance on Bangkakawan, a traditional thanksgiving celebration among the Tigwahanons inTigua river.

The winners bagged P150,00 cash, P100,000 and P75,000 respectively.

Talakag also won the float competition with a P100,000 prize followed by the municipalities of Baungon and Libona.

Malitbog town won the ground presentations followed by the Kalilangan and Kitaotao towns.

In 2013, the contingent from Kitaotao, home to both Manobo and Matigsalugs, won the grand prize for the street dancing and ground presentation competitions.

The Malitbog contingent featured Pandiwata or the summoning of the deities.

This is the third year that the street dancing contingents underwent a “free and prior informed consent” (FPIC), since the NCIP facilitated the process in 2012.

The local government units sponsoring the contingents submitted to the authority of the tribes on what is to be featured in the dance presentations. A source from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples said the process even included meeting the judges of the street dancing competition to explain and clarify to them the process made.

Amay Yi Iwag Linsahay, a tribal leader from Manolo Fortich cited the need for a cultural impact assessment on the Kaamulan. He noted among others, errors and shortcomings of media personalities in discussing the cultural aspect of the celebration.

“Anyway, let me give them some benefit of the doubt, maybe that’s also what was stated in the storylines provided to them,” he added.

He said in his commentary published in Bukidnon News.Net that “Lumad” elders should have reviewed the storylines.

“Is this the essence and spirit of genuine recognition, respect and promotion of indigenous cultures (as mandated under R.A. 8371/ IPRA)? Or are these merely corrupted ideas of the hired and paid choreographers (with exemption to the very culture-sensitive ones),” he added.

Linsahay is with PASAGI – the Indigenous political structure of the traditional territory. He said they are “strongly calling for a Cultural Impact Assessment (CIA) on every proposed activity of the “Kaamulan” including media coverage.

“Mind you, if these things are not properly handled and addressed, (these) are truly devastating to the identities and cultures of the authentic indigenous tribes in Bukidnon, he said.

But he added that “it is not too late to start” and expressed hope that changes be introduced in the next Kaamulan festivals.

“This is a wake-up call for all Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives at all levels of the Sanggunian in the Local Government Units of Bukidnon. Also, a wakeup call to the National Commission on Indigenous peoples (NCIP),” he added.

The second day of the street dancing competition was graced by Local Governments Manuel Roxas III, who described the province as the “food basket of the Philippines.”

He recalled that Bukidnon provided refuge to his grandfather, President Manuel Roxas during World War II. Roxas was in the Malaybalay concentration camp during the war. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)