Cotabato’s founding anniversary highlights culture and tradition of IPs and Muslims

kapaThe week long celebration of Cotabato’s founding anniversary popularly known as Kalivungan, a Menuvu term which means “gathering”, has always been a showcase of its people and their distinct culture.

This year’s festivity has once again presented the diverse culture, tradition, and practices of different ethnic groups in the province particularly Muslims and lumads or  the Indigenous Peoples (IPs), through their music and songs, dances and customary games highlighted in separate events.

One of these activities is the Kapagana Festival, now on its 7th year, which has become an annual attraction for Muslim brethrens here during Kalivungan Festival where more than 200 came from different parts of the province to join and witness the event this year.   Held in a Muslim-dominated town of Pikit last August 24, Kapagana Festival was composed of three (3) events namely Kulintangan Extravaganza, Sipa sa Manggis, and Sagayan sa Unta. Kapagana is a Maguindanaon term which means “to welcome or to entertain”.

Kulintangan Extravaganza, a musical competition where Exotic Moro music echoed as Maguindanaoans display their artistry while Moro men dance the Talam and women dance the Tudong, using the Kulintang – a popular brass and percussion ensemble of the Moro People.  Participants from Pikit was hailed champion, while participants from Arakan, Alamada, and Banisilan placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd runner-up respectively.

Sipa sa Manggis, on the other hand, is a popular Maguindanaoan game where the player kicks a rattan ball tossed in the air towards a box tied at the tip of a bamboo pole around 30-40 feet from the ground.  The group who got the highest points and was declared champion was a team from Pikit, while 1st, 2nd, and 3rd runner-up winners were from the municipalities of Tulunan, Mlang, and Libungan respectively.

Sagayan sa Unta, portrays a Maguindanaoan dance which has been part of merrymakings during special occasions like weddings; first placer were participants from Kabacan, followed by Pikit at 2nd place and Aleosan at 3rd place.

Kavurunan Festival is another highlight of the weeklong celebration of the Kalivungan where almost 500 tribal leaders and members of the IP communities all over the province came together to celebrate their unique culture and tradition.  These tribes were Manobo, Teduray, Tagabawa, Igorot, B’laan, Matigsalog, LLianen, Kirintiken, Tinananon and Aromanen who participated actively in friendly competitions like cultural show: Traditional Dance, Song Solo, and Musical Instrument (Solo Instrument, Family Ensemble – Kulintang, and Family Ensemble – Agong), traditional games, and Search for Mutya ng Kavurunan during the 2-day affair held at the Provincial Capitol from August 28-29, 2017.  Department of Tourism 12 Regional Director Nelly Nita Dillera who graced the opening program of the Kavurunan Festival lauded the provincial government’s efforts to give due appreciation to members of the IP community and uplift their present state in the society. She said, to be a lumad or IP is a beautiful identity where members of the IP tribes must be proud of and urged them to profess such distinctiveness everyday in the way they dress and speak.

On the other hand, Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza, who attended both the Kapagana and Kavurunan Festivals this year, expressed her administration’s intention to empower our IP tribes and Muslim brethren and promote further the harmonious co-existence of tri-people in the province.

“Despite our differences in traditions, customs, and beliefs we are all Cotabateños and in our unity we can do greater things for our families and our beloved province.  May we all continue to be as one in our goal to bring peace and harmony and development in the province of Cotabato,” the Governor said.

With Governor Mendoza’s Serbisyong Totoo advocacy, Cotabato’s celebration of its founding anniversary has been distributed to different municipalities in the province to engage local government units and other stakeholders in this annual affair in the province.//LGonzales/photo credit:SNanini/RSotto/end//


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