SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 Sept)— This city, which endured the devastation of Typhoon Odette and faced the challenges of the pandemic, celebrated the 39th Bonok-Bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw Festival as an occasion to give thanks for its resilience.
This was the message of Mayor Pablo Yves Dumlao II during his speech at the grand showdown of the festival’s street dance competition at the provincial sports Complex over the weekend.
“I urge everyone to join in celebrating the Bonok-Bonok Festival each year. It’s important that we all participate annually so we won’t forget and consistently express our gratitude to the Lord,” Dumlao said.
Bonok-Bonok is the biggest religious event of Surigao City held every September in honor of its patron saint, Senior San Nicolas de Tolentino.
Tourism Undersecretary Myra Paz Valderrosa-Abubakar, who came to witness the celebration, said that festivals like Bonok-Bonok hold great significance as it is one way of attracting tourists to come.
“Aside from drawing tourists to witness the festival, they also play an important role in benefiting the local community. This includes supporting accommodations and establishments, boosting the local economy through the consumption of local cuisine and transportation services, and highlighting other tourist attractions that travelers can explore alongside experiencing the festival,” she added.
The street dance competition included two categories, namely, “Festival of Festivals” and “Bonok-Bonok based.”
The Agusan del Sur Artists Guild emerged as the champion of the “Festival of Festivals” category, bringing home one million pesos. The contingent from Nasipit, Agusan del Norte, was first runner-up, while Surigao City National High School Special Program in the Arts took home the second runner-up title, walking away with P500,000 and P300,000 cash prizes, respectively.
In the Bonok-Bonok based category, Surigao City Central Elementary School secured the championship title with a cash prize of P500,000. Hingas San Juan Performing Arts of Surigao City National High School claimed the first runner-up position and received a cash prize of P350,000, while Bagtik Sumasajaw Nan Canlanipa of Canlanipa National High School was second runner-up, earning P200,000.
Local historians said the Bonok-Bonok Festival finds its roots in the indigenous Mamanwa Tribe, who are native to Surigao. “Bonok” translates to “heavy downpour,” symbolizing a blessing from the heavens. The repetition of “Bonok-Bonok” signifies a continuous outpouring of blessings.
This festival, which started in 1984 following the devastation caused by Typhoon Nitang in Surigao, has its origins in a gesture of gratitude. It was organized as a way to express thanks as the city gradually recovered from the aftermath of the typhoon. (Ivy Marie Mangadlao / MindaNews)