The 2012 Kaamulan Festival Ethnic Street Dancing Competition held this morning (March 3), was another showcase of Bukidnon's rich culture and heritage. The competition has always been the highlight of every Kaamulan Festival, celebrated annually to honor the customs and traditions of the seven ethnic tribes who are the original inhabitants of the Province of Bukidnon: Umayamnon, Tigwahonon, Matigsalug, Manobo, Talaandig, Higaonon and Bukidnon.
Held at the main highway of Malaybalay City, this year's edition of the street dancing was participated by six municipalities and one city of the province: Cabanglasan, San Fernando, Malitbog, Kalilangan, Quezon, Maramag and Valencia City. It was started off by a Pamuhat Ritual, an indigenous practice of seeking the blessing of the spirits through prayers and offerings for the success of the event.
I was there to witness the event just before it started. The pre-competition part has always been a good opportunity to take photos as the crowd is still relatively thin and the participants are always ready to pose and flash their sweetest smiles. I have to give thanks to the Provincial Tourism Office for issuing me a Photographer's I.D. It kinda made my shutter-snapping "official". Hahaha! : )
Colorful costumes, banners and tribal weapons dominated the street. The contingents were a mishmash of young children, students, adults and, of course, the "lumads".
Competition proper started at around 7 AM. Once again, Malaybalay's main thoroughfare was flooded with colors and the air was filled with chants, tribal drumbeats and the sound of gongs. It was a showcase of Bukidnon's best and simply a spectacle to behold.
The heavens have cooperated and gave Bukidnon a cloudy morning. The contingents as well as the viewing public didn't have to bear the heat of the sun. From Malaybalay highway, the participants proceeded to the Capitol Grounds where final performances were presented before the judges and invited guests.
(This post first appeared in SUROY PILIPINAS)