Salakayan: Miagao’s cultural gem turns 20

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

MIAGAO, Iloilo will celebrate its 302nd Foundation Anniversary alongside the annual Salakayan Festival on Feb 4-11, 2017.

Salakayan rivals other provinces’ for its color and creativity. Fancy period costumes, giant papier-mâché, and community spirit enliven the first week of the Arts Month in Miagao.

Now in its 20th year, the celebration is the town’s way of thanking and remembering the heroism of its ancestors. It gives everyone interested in history the chance to witness events interpreted through dance-drama. It has quickly become a cultural gem for the provincial calendar.

With its diverse and family-friendly theme, the festival will stage an eclectic range of events and activities throughout the eight-day celebration.

Themed “Kasaysayan kag Kutura kang Miagao: Sa Salakayan kag Hablon aton Makit-an!”, the festival prepared a series of special events beginning Feb 4 (Sunday) – Soft Opening of Food Fair at the Miagao Town Plaza with the MVS Batch 68 Golden Alumni Homecoming and Jubilarians Night at the Miagao Town Plaza at 6:30 p.m.;

Feb 5 (Monday) Pamukaw at 5 a.m., Salakayan Mass at 9 a.m., Opening of Agro-Trade Fair at 10 a.m., Opening Salvo Street Dancing Competition at 2 p.m., Opening of Food Fair at 5 p.m., Salakayan Re-enactment at 6 p.m., and Live Band at 7 p.m.;

February 6 (Tuesday) Cavalcade of Dances at 2 p.m., Zumba Festival at 5 p.m., MCES Alumni Night at 6:30 p.m.

Feb 7 (Wednesday) Laro ng Lahi at 10:30 a.m., Search for Miss Salakayan 2018 at 7 p.m.;

Feb 8 (Thursday) Miagao Arts Competition at 10 a.m. till 3 p.m., Balikbanwa Night at 7 p.m.;

Feb 9 (Friday) Mass and Fluvial Parade at 8 a.m., Cultural Show: Sleeping Beauty at 12 noon; Games at Sea at 10:30 a.m., Higante Contest at 4 p.m., Liga Night at 7 p.m.;

February 10 (Saturday) Salakayan Tribe Competition at 8 a.m., Car Show at 1 p.m., Float Parade at 3 p.m., Tribes’ Night at 7 p.m.; February 11 (Sunday) Mass at 7:15 a.m., Motorcross at 8 a.m., Agape at 8:30 a.m., Car Show at 1 p.m., Coronation of the Queen of Miagao 2018 at 9 p.m.

The local government headed by the very active and tourism-oriented Mayor Macario Napulan works hard to preserve, share and promote Miagao’s heritage. It is part of the organizer’s commitment to building awareness of the festivity as the memory of the town and encouraging interest in the history of Miagao and beyond.

A special feature of the presentation are the “giants and big heads.” The giants represent traditional or historical figures and the big heads tease the children and at times chase them.

A giant costume can be as high as 13 feet tall, draped on a frame sitting on a dancer’s shoulders, and big heads are worn over a costume, covering the face and torso. All performers wear elaborately designed papier-mâché heads.

Taken from the Hiligaynon word “Salakay” or “to attack,” the core of the celebration is based on a famous battle fought on May 7, 1754. Every year, the citizens remember their liberation from Mindanao pirates who are notorious for their slave-hunting expeditions in the area.

The storyline is the base of the individual performances during the annual tribe competition that will take center stage on February 10 (Saturday) at 8 a.m.

Approximately 40.5 kilometers from, Iloilo City, the scenic town of Miagao is bounded by the town of Igbaras in the northeast; by Guimbal in the east; by San Joaquin in the west; and, by the municipality of Sibalom in the province of Antique in the northwest. It has a land area of 13,286 hectares politically subdivided into 199 barangays.

To get to Miagao, one can take a jeepney at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary Terminal in Barangay Mohon, Oton, Iloilo. Metered taxis are also available at the terminal. For more information, please contact, Municipal Tourism Officer Anthony Selorio at 09391737407.

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A first in the Philippines: Netizens choose next Cebu Pacific destination

THE country’s leading airline, Cebu Pacific Air (PSE: CEB) announces the top ten picks among millions of netizens who participated in the #CEBFlyMeTo campaign. The breakthrough campaign utilized crowdsourcing to find out from netizens which destinations in the Philippines they would want Cebu Pacific to fly next.

#CEBFlyMeTo also aimed to bring communities together to voice out their thoughts and push for their hometowns to become one of CEB’s destinations. Since the campaign was launched in late-2017, over two million netizens watched, shared, reacted, and commented with their #CEBFlyMeTo votes.

The top ten most-requested destinations were announced via the CEB Facebook page last Thursday (http://bit.ly/2nwqBr7). These are are: Daet (Camarines Norte), Mati (Davao Oriental), Bantayan Island (Cebu), San Vicente (Palawan), Siquijor, Lal-Lo (Cagayan), Marinduque, Maasin (Southern Leyte), Basco (Batanes), and Bislig (Surigao Del Sur). These destinations are currently being checked for feasibility of mounting commercial flights, using  criteria like market readiness, state of airport and related infrastructure, as well as safety and security in the area.

This means that CEB could soon be flying to any of these breathtaking destinations. Cebu Pacific has several brand-new aircraft set to be delivered over the coming months. From 2018 to 2022, CEB expects delivery of seven brand-new Airbus A321ceo, 32 Airbus A321neo, and eight ATR 72-600 aircraft.

“We want to engage with Filipino travelers and give them the opportunity to be part of our planning process as we continue to connect the Philippine islands and offer the lowest fares.  We are now in the process of reviewing the operational viability of flying to these destinations.” said Candice Iyog, Vice President for Marketing and Distribution at Cebu Pacific.

The #CEBFlyMeTo campaign was inspired by an online petition spearheaded by residents and the local government of Masbate to mount commercial flights to the island-province in 2016. After feasibility and technical checks, Cebu Pacific launched commercial flights between Manila and Masbate in February 2017.

Today, Cebu Pacific has 18 flights weekly between Manila and Masbate. The online campaign has allowed Masbateños to contribute to the economic growth of the province by helping open doors of opportunities for business and tourism.

Aside from Masbate, Cebu Pacific was the first to mount commercial flights to destinations that are now up-and-coming tourist areas such as Siargao, Camiguin and Virac.

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Paraw Regatta introduces innovations in 2018

By: Leonard T. Pineda I

NUMEROUS innovations will be introduced in the Paraw Regatta Festival as it celebrates its 46th anniversary in February 2018.

In a media release, Dr. Ronald Raymond L. Sebastian, president of the Iloilo Paraw Regatta Foundation, Inc. (IPRFI), said they have been rebranding and re-envisioning the festival for the past two years by putting emphasis on Ilonggo culture and heritage, particularly our roots in seafaring.

Sebastian said many innovations will be showcased this year including the Paraw Furniture-Making Competition, Minature Galleon Showcase, Bangkarera Race, Jetski Amazing Race, Lighted Paraw Competition and the launching of the Festival Mascot, “Burong”.

This year’s festival is themed “Unity Amidst the Waves of Change”, which is the perfect example of the new direction the foundation is currently on.

The popular “Sinamba sa Regatta Dancefest” will also stage a comeback and will take place at the Esplanade.

Meanwhile, IPRFI said that Guimaras province is now part of the festivities this year with the festival kick-off in the island-province featuring the opening of the Exhibit of Miniature Paraw and Furniture Display at the Jordan Wharf.

The Iloilo Paraw Regatta is the oldest traditional craft event in Asia and the largest sailing event in the country.

The festival’s main event is a sailboat race in Iloilo Strait that features the “Paraw”, a Visayan double outrigger sailboat. (PIA-Iloilo)

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