Thursday, March 22, 2007

festival: kaamulan

Location: Malaybalay, Bukidon

Getting there: 2 hrs from Cagayan de Oro City or 4 hours from Davao City by bus

Budget: P3,000.00 is a safe amount for an overnight stay, several meals and some shopping for souvenirs.

Must bring: water, hat/umbrella, camera, extra batteries, comfy walking shoes/slippers


Bukidnon is a quiet paradise of Mindanao that links together Davao and Cagayan de Oro. A road trip gives you an relaxing view of a sea of green because of the wide expanse of fields of rice, corn and sugar cane. In Cebuano, Bukidnon means moutainous. True to its name, there are mountain ranges on either side of the high way.

There are large concentration of indigenous peoples (IPs, or in the native dialect, lumad) in Bukidnon, many of which are located in the uplands, away from the mainland. The Kaamulan Festival celebrates the gathering of cultures and traditions of the IPs. It used to be held every September but recently it has been moved to March for better weather conditions.

In the recent years, the Kaamulan has become bigger and more commercial and has brought about a lot of debates on how far it has strayed from its original purpose. But for many people of Bukidnon, it is still a time to come together and rejoice in their roots.

The street dancing is one of the major highlights of Kaamulan where many local and foreign tourists come to witness the municipalities of Bukidnon showcase their talents through music and dance, interpreting cultural traditions of the lumad. The dance may be of healing, courtship, warfare, livelihood, and other rituals of the IPs. They dance the length of the highway of Malaybalay to the main plaza.

The street dancing in itself is already a colorful visual display of choreographed and timed movements. Once they are in the plaza, they perform in front of a panel of judges. Most of which are government officials and big-time businessmen. Under the sweltering heat, these people dance their heart out to the beat of the steel drums to tell the story of their forefathers.

Witnessing the street dancing is often satisfying enough for a Kaamulan adventure. But those in wanting to do more may enjoy horseback riding, horse fights, flea markets, ethnic dance clinic and live performances by local and famous bands.

Should you be interested to go, mark the first weekend of March for the streetdancing. This ushers in the beginning of the month long celebration. The rest of the activities are spread throughout the month.

1 comment:

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