IN PHOTOS: The 2018 Kaamulan Festival of Bukidnon

Monday, April 30, 2018

kaamulan festival bukidnon

Bukidnon's Kaamulan Festival began in the 70s when local leaders decided it was high time they put a spotlight on the province’s indigenous heritage. Its goal is mainly to bring together the seven original inhabitants of the province: the Bukidnon, Higaonon, Talaandig, Manobo, Matigsalug, Tigwahanon and Umayamnon.

Over the years, the festival had earned praises for being the "most authentic" and only truly ethnic festival in the country.

From the Binukid word “amul” which means “to gather”, the festival is held usually throughout the month of March, culminating into the highly anticipated Civic Parade. Around half of Bukidnon's 20 municipalities and 2 component cities participate every year.

The night before the main event, a cultural showcase called Piniliyapan is held. This year, it included a dramatization of a portion of the epic Ulaging, with the Kalayag choir accompanying the story. 
piniliyapan bukidnon

bukidnon epic ulaging

piniliyapan choir

Tribes also performed a traditional chant, and at the end of the night, performers and audience gathered to partake in an indigenous dance party.
piniliyapan bukidnon performances

bukidnon kaamulan eve

kaamulan indigenous festival

At the Civic Parade, the routines are derived from actual rituals. Anyone was welcome to perform – young and old, even non-indigenous folks – but they must seek permission from the elders. Even the choreographers are required to show the routine prior for approval.

Related Adventure: Angono's Higantes Festival

The performances usually tell of the tribes’ creation myths and age-old legends. There is the tale of how a giant banog (Philippine hawk) who, with the help of baylans (healers), revived a datu's (chieftain) heir after being bitten by a bunsalagan (lake spirit).
kaamulan festival

kaamulan festival routines

Laaw – a towering dark spirit that gives favor to the people – was featured on another performance.

Animals sacred to the tribes are also incorporated to the dances. Movements that mimic horses, monkeys, and birds can be recognized in the routines.

Prominent also are social interactions like courtships, weddings, and coronations.
kaamulan festival bukidnon

Daily life like fishing, planting and harvesting are also common themes.
kaamulan festival bukidnon

indigenous philippine festival

kaamulan festival dance routines

best philippine festivals

kaamulan festival stilt performer

kaamulan festival dance rituals

There are the war dances, too, that proudly showcase the fierceness of the tribesmen.
2018 kaamulan festival war routines

bukidnon war dances

The performances alone are enough to amaze, but once you know the story behind the festival, the experience becomes twice as incredible.

What's your favorite Filipino festival?

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