BIMP-EAGA culture and arts festival opens Wednesday in GenSan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 19 Sept) – The diverse and rich culture, heritage and artistry of peoples within the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) will take the centerstage in a five-day grand culture and arts festival that will open here on Wednesday.

Adelina Suemith, acting executive director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), said Tuesday they are all set for the first-ever Budayaw Festival, which is dubbed as BIMP-EAGA’s “festival of festivals.”

She said more than 300 contemporary artists and indigenous cultural masters from parts of the sub-region are joining various showcases slated until Sunday, Sept. 24.

These include cultural performances, visual arts exhibitions, young chorale concerts, “Ikat” weaving showcases, indigenous traditional music exchanges, culture and history colloquium, and tourism exhibition.

“We are ready and very excited with the lined up activities. We’re inviting everyone to witness this festival, which is not just of our country, but of the four nations of the BIMP-EAGA,” Suemith said.

The festivity will start on Wednesday morning with the opening of four Budayaw exhibitions at the city’s three shopping malls – the KCC Veranza, Gaisano and SM City General Santos.

These are the “Muslims in the Philippines Culture and History” exhibition, Budayaw Tourism Roadshow, Travel and Trade Fair, “Under One Sky” visual arts exhibition, and “Tapestry of Dreams: IKAT Master Weavers Pavilion.”

The festival’s formal opening ceremony is scheduled in the afternoon at the Greenleaf Hotel here, and will be followed by the Budayaw grand public performance at the SM Mall atrium.

An outdoor concert dubbed “Budayaw Konsierto sa Kahapunon” featuring Joey Ayala is slated in the evening.

The Budayaw colloquium on “Cultural Exchanges in the EAGA” and the “Tanghalang Bantugan: Budayaw Country Performances” will highlight the second day of the festivity.

On Friday, Sept. 22, participating artists and cultural performers will join the special outreach performances and creative interactions cum cultural exchanges in the municipalities of Maitum, Alabel and Malungon in Sarangani.

The famed traditional woven cloths of various Mindanao tribes will be showcased in a special fashion show dubbed “Southern Weaves Fashion Fair” spearheaded by popular designer Renee Salud.

The exhibitions, concerts, colloquium, country performances and features performances will continue at the three shopping malls until the closing of the festival on Sunday.

Budayaw is a combination of Bahasa term “budaya” for culture and Filipino term “dayaw” that means “something beautiful or something good.”

Spearheaded by the NCCA, Budayaw Festival is a banner project of the BIMP-EAGA cooperating countries to advance culture and development in the sub-regional grouping.

It was designed to showcase the diverse creative expressions of the people in the EAGA; advance opportunities for cultural exchanges among peoples, communities, artists and cultural workers; and forge collaboration between public and private sector in support for the festival.

The first Budayaw Festival is supported by the city government of General Santos, Mindanao State University-General Santos, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Department of Tourism, Sarangani provincial government and the Mindanao Development Authority. (MindaNews)