EVENTS AND CULTURE
The Kaamulan is a grand celebration of the seven tribes of Bukidnon: Higao-non, Umayam-non, Bukidnon, Tala-andig, Manobo, Matigsalog, and Tigwahanon, thanking Magbabaya (God Almighty) for the bountiful harvest and blessings. Coined from the term “Amul” which means “to gather”, the month-long festival’s highlight is the magnificent street dancing parade and tableau presentation which is a pageantry of the customs, traditions, dances, and music of the tribes. A favorite among international photographers and tourists, the Kaamulan Festival is definitely one of the most authentic and richest cultural experiences you will ever witness in your life.
The Talaandig are one of the indigenous groups in the province of Bukidnon, Mindanao Philippines who has continued to preserve and promote its indigenous customs, beliefs and practices despite the strong influx of modernization and change. The Talaandig population is roughly estimated to be at about 100,000 people or more. The members of the group are found in barangays and municipalities surrounding the mountain of Kitanglad, the historic domain of the Talaandig people.
SUNGGOD TA KAMANGA FESTIVAL
Essentially a festival of rituals, Sunngod te Kamanga celebrates the culture and heritage of the Manobo-Pulangihon of the Pulangi River and the Matigsalug of the highlands. Witnessing this festival is a pure, epic cultural experience as everything from start to finish stays true to the spirit of the culture, art, history, and heritage of Bukidnon’s tribes.
Some of the rituals that are depicted in Sunggod te Kamanga are the Panalagbuta, Panampulot, Paratuan, and En-Anaken which are rituals of thanksgiving and social initiation among the Manobo tribe. This festival indeed offers a fresh and honest definition of what a true celebration of local culture.
The Tagolwanen Women Weavers Association aims for its weavers to continue the Tagolwanen weaving tradition by incorporating weaving into daily life, and passing
on this skill to the young. Weaving is a big part of the indigenous person’s (lumad) identity. The beautiful mats reflect the lumad identity through the designs. Weaving has
also helped the Tagolwanen women recognize their own strength and ability. The association has 75 active members from the Tagolwanen Tribe. Members’ ages range
from early 20s to 70s. Their weaving skills are handed from generation to generation.
Deep in the region’s highland between the boundary of Davao and Bukidnon, the Matigsalug tribe flourished. They are the original inhabitants of the Salug River (now called the Davao River). Thus, their tribe’s name originated from the words matig, meaning “people,” and salug, meaning “river.” The Matigsalug are known for their skills in hunting and gathering, though they subsequently shifted to farming due to the influence of the migrant farmers from the Northern Philippines. Around 50,000 Matigsalug inhabit the Tigwa-Salug Valley in San Fernando, Bukidnon, an area certified by the Philippine government as their ancestral domain.
Cagayan de Oro’s patron saint is St. Augustine and, in his honor, the City holds its biggest annual celebration which is the Higalaay Festival. But more than a celebration of faith, the word “Higalaay” also means “to make friends” and within this weeklong festivity, the City and its people open their doors and celebrate not only the rich culture and colorful heritage that is alive in Cagayan de Oro city but also the spirit of friendship amongst its people that has lived and nourished the city to greater heights.
The city comes alive with colorful parades, music, and dancing during the Higalaay festivities with its people putting Kagay-anon local products into focus and highlighting the local stories of success and inspiration throughout the years.
MUSEO DE ORO
More of the alluring mysteries of Cagayan de Oro and Northern Mindanao lay within the displays of Museo de Oro that houses hundreds of years’ worth of relics and artifacts that were either excavated or passed down among the native tribes of the region. The museum is located within Xavier University in the Divisoria area and it boasts a collection of prized antiquities from the region’s Bukidnon, T’boli, and Maranao cultures. As a folkloric museum, Museo de Oro will open one’s eyes to the cradle of a culture of the now majestic peoples of Region 10 with paintings and ethnographic artifacts that depict how people before viewed themselves concerning the universe, the origin of the world, and man in mythic tradition.
A notable piece in the museum collection is human skeletal remains found at Huluga Cave in Taguanao. The fossil dates back to 377 AD as evidenced by a carbon dating test conducted by the University of California, thus, establishing it as one of the earliest known human existence in the entire Mindanao
MUSEUM OF THREE CULTURES
Housed within Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City, the Museum of Three Cultures is a time capsule gallery featuring the “three cultures” of Mindanao: the migrant Christians and how they shaped Cagayan de Oro, the Indigenous Tribes of Mindanao, and the Maranaos. It also displays some notable paintings of both old-era and contemporary artists in Mindanao.
A visit to this museum is a remarkable cultural experience as it introduces very rare antiques and valued pieces from tribes’ people in Mindanao with a focus on their culture and societal impact on history and even in the modern world. Some of these include Maranao antiques from Tugaya in Lanao del Sur, a gallery of ethnohistory that displays Cagayan de Oro’s history, Butuan archeological artifacts, lumad arts, and crafts from the Higaonon and Manobo cultures, and treasures of Christians lowland artifacts from Northern Mindanao.
Every January, the Province of Misamis Oriental starts the year with a grand festival honoring its home-grown coconut species, locally known as Kuyamis. It is said that Misamis Oriental was named after this golden fruit which grows in abundance in all areas of the province. People gather at the Province’s Capital to celebrate their unique shared history, culture and enjoy the local products through the unique Municipal and City booths that are designed to feature their icons and tourism destinations. The traditional street dancing competition showcases the different traditional festivals dance of each of the 23 municipalities and 3 cities. The Kuyamis Festival is an enthralling cultural experience that will take you around Misamis Oriental and make you feel closer to the charming people of this Province!
For 40 years, Gingoog City has held the grand celebration of the Kaliga festival – a celebration of the Higaonon, which is primarily a thanksgiving for the favors, abundant reap, effective chasing, campaign, establishment of a new chieftain, birth of a tyke, or any healing hardship and sickness. The entire festival originates from the city’s Higaonon roots and their customs, traditions, and general way of life.
Kaliga Festival is Gingoog City’s ultimate celebration of culture and history as it breathes life to the old legends and rituals of the Higaonon people through dances, parades, and presentations which are shown to the whole town. A jumping giant frog, a proud Philippine Eagle with wings outreached, a playful monkey, running shrimp, and a tall tribal datu and his lady, are some of the characters that are depicted in the festival that are derived from the traditional kaliga ritual. The festival has become an expression not only of environmental protection practiced through spiritual belief by the Higaonon people but also of the recognition and preservation of such colorful culture and its people.
Every 3rd week of October, the beautiful island of Camiguin comes alive with a much-awaited colorful and fun-filled festival in celebration of the bountiful harvest of the sweetest Lanzones in the Philippines which is also the heart and pride of the island-province. One of the most popular festivals in the Region, people flock to Camiguin not only to join the eat all you can Lanzones parties but to sample the local and international cuisine that is so diverse in Camiguin and to relax and enjoy the unforgettable land and seascapes.
The municipality of Lala celebrates its heritage and development by showcasing its most prized local product – the crab or the “alimango” in local terms. This Festival is a grand celebration of bountiful harvest which is elevated by the rich culture and values of locals who advocate the preservation of the Panguil Bay – the primary source of crab harvest in the municipality. Every March 22nd, the whole town of Lala makes its legendary “Alimango Mountain” and shares tons of crabs with the locals and the tourists. This one of a kind gastronomic experience is made even better by the colorful parade and cultural presentations of the locals. Alimango festival is indeed a huge check on a foodie’s bucket list!
The splendor of Lanao del Norte is not only rooted on its breathtaking landscapes and tourist attractions but also in the rich culture of its people that is founded on their colorful shared history and legends. The Sagayan Festival is celebrated every first week of July to highlight the uniqueness of culture that is alive in the people of Lanao del Norte and their fostered unity in order to achieve peace and prosperity in the province.
This festival was based on the Sagayan dance of the province which portrays the hero Datu Bantugan and his numerous valiant exploits in the Maranao epic, Darangen. According to the celebrated epic, Bantugan defended his family and village from their neighboring tribes who tried to attack his people and wage havoc in their community.
The people of Lanao del Norte consider this festival the biggest celebration of their province and we remember the distinct costumes dancing to the beat of the distinct Maranao music that follows the narrative of Bantugan on his noble quests. The grand celebration also features the Pagana Maranao, a royal feast which shows the penchant for beauty and grandeur, offering Halal Maranao cuisine, while welcoming the guests with the highest degree of hospitality. This is a cultural and gastronomic feast that you should experience in your lifetime.
This captivating festival shows us that the rich culture of Lanao del Norte which has persisted for hundreds of years is still alive and is the very heart of the land of beauty and bounty.
The streets of modern-day Iligan City are an interesting paradox of the past and the present. In the middle of all its towering modern edifices strolls the tartanilla, a heritage that has survived decades and has plastered itself in the ever-growing history of the town, making it a recognizable Iliganon symbol.
A tartanilla is a horse-drawn carriage which was introduced by the Spaniards to the Philippines in the 18th Century. It is rarely seen in the roads nowadays and only Iligan, Cebu, and Vigan have preserved and still use the century-old example. These horse-drawn carriages are no longer allowed in the main streets of Iligan but one can regularly catch them along Badelles Street down to Tambacan Road, its designated route and enjoy a trip for only five pesos. There is also a special “Tartanilya Express Ride” around the city streets during the month-long celebration of Iligan’s Diyandi Festival. Riding on a tartanilla is an exciting, memorable, jump-back-in-time experience unmatched by any of our modern-day modes of transportation.
BAROY LECHONAN FESTIVAL
The Baroy Lechonan Festival is an annual promenade of the popular Filipino fiesta fair: the Lechon (roast pig). Every fiesta in Region 10 is incomplete without this scrumptious delicacy but it is most special in the Municipality of Baroy in Lanao del Norte as they have taken this to the next level and have created a town fiesta to showcase this in their Lechon Festival.
Every 10th of June, all the barangays in Baroy gather and exhibit their own versions of the Lechon in the town plaza for everyone to see (and taste).
This fiesta is the ultimate culinary celebration because it does not only drown the taste buds with 23 savory interpretations of the well-loved Lechon but it also pleases the eyes with the locals' diverse and creative ways of dressing and parading their Lechon entries.
CHRISTMAS SYMBOLS FESTIVAL
This unique festival, which started with a heartwarming love story of a young Mayor wanting to impress his wife by lighting up a Plaza at Christmas time and the young wife who wanted to share the different destinations of the world with their people in the City has transformed the once sleepy town of Tangub into the Christmas Symbols Capital of the Philippines.
Travel the world in Tangub City as you visit 16 Iconic life-sized lighted replicas of tourist destinations around the world built by the community craftsmen and citizens of the City with a passport which you can fill with country stamps which keep as a souvenir! Celebrating Christmas in this village is an unforgettable experience worthy of an honored place in your bucket list!
SAINT JOHN THE BAPTISTE CHURCH AND JIMENEZ HERITAGE TOWN
Be transported back in time in the iconic Jimenez Heritage Town which has over 100 original ancestral houses dating as far back as the 1800s. A stroll in the streets of Jimenez would make you feel as if the houses and the edifices themselves are telling their owns stories of war, peace, culture, and progress that have fostered in the place. Oh if the walls could talk, what wonderful stories they will tell!
Two notable houses are the residences of Senator Ozamiz, the first senator from Mindanao and the Tac-an House which served as the printing press of the Japanese “Mickey Mouse” money during the 1940s. At its heart is the nostalgic showpiece is the beautiful St. John the Baptist Church which was declared as a National Historical Treasure and has withstood the test of time for almost 140 years.
Overlooking the abundant Panguil Bay in Ozamis City, the Fuerte dela Conception y del Triunfo or the Cotta Fort is one of the local historical gems of Misamis Occidental. This citadel was first built by Spanish Jesuit priest and commander, Jose Ducos to serve as an outpost to protect the area against marauding pirates. It then became a Japanese garrison during the World War II and was damaged during the April 1955 earthquake. It was faithfully restored to resemble the original structure and is now one of the only 14 fort remains from the Spanish era in the Philippines.
SUBAYAN KEG SUBANEN
The Subanon tribe are known as the people of the river who once roamed the seas in great numbers and were the original inhabitants of the Misamis Occidental province, of which Ozamiz is a prominent city. It is in the spirit of this cultural group that the Subayan keg Subanen Festival is held annually as part of the week-long string of activities in celebration of Ozamiz City's Charter Day celebration and the Feast of the Nuestra Señora dela Conception y del Triunfo.
The Subayan keg Subanen Festival is held to showcase the culture of the Subanon indigenous people and their cultural values and traditions. Our memories of the celebration include colorful parades and presentations that are staged in front of the whole city to feature the various rituals of the Subanon tribe such as their thanksgiving for weddings, courtship, hunting, baptism, healing of the sick, planting, and harvesting. Festivals like the Subayan keg Subanen remind us of the special and dramatic history of the indigenous peoples of our country and the importance of treasuring and preserving their presence in our communities.
In a colorful celebration of their culture and as thanksgiving to their patron, St. Michael the Archangel, Tangubanons hold the annual Dalit Festival every September 29 with a burst of music, colors, dancing, chants, and grand performances on their city streets. The word “Dalit” means “to offer,” and the entire festivity is an offering of the City of Tangub to their visitors highlighting their traditions and the Filipino way of living as well as an expression of their gratitude to their patron saint for protection, peace, and prosperity that is granted to them year after year.
Tangub City is known as the home of one of the best performers and musicians in the Philippines such as the Sinanduloy Cultural Dance Troupe which have garnered prestigious awards in various festivals in the country. With their dancers clad in costumes with elements of the Subanen culture or Filipiniana details, Dalit Festival presentations vary in theme but are all united by the three basic Dalit dance steps: Grace, Prayer, and Grace which are all performed to the beat of a specific Dalit rhythm.
Dalit is indeed quickly becoming one of the biggest and most sought-after festivals in Mindanao because of the level of spectacle that is propelling the “City by the Bay” into one of Mindanao’s festival hotspots.
With performers clad in the traditional costume of the Subanon tribe in Misamis Occidental, the people of Oroquieta City celebrate the Inug-og Festival along with a majestic dash of ethnic music, colors, and performances honoring the Subanon culture and heritage of the Oroquietanons.
Inug-og Festival is celebrated every 14th of October with tribal performances of street dancing and ritual showdowns. It is named after the distinct ug-og dance step which is distinct to the tribal dances of the Subanon tribe. The celebration flows with a motley of Subanon cultural rituals such as those held during their courtship, weddings, harvest, baptism, healing, and the general lifestyle and history of the tribe. Inug-og Festival is also held in tribute to Oroquieta City’s patron saint, Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.