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May 10
Mayaw-Mayaw Ethnic Festival
Pinabacdao, Samar

Pag-mayaw is an old "Waray" word meaning to give offerings and homage to the gods and to drive away the evil spirits as well.  An ancient ritual dating back to the pre-Spanish period and still practiced today by local farmers, pag-mayaw promises bountiful harvest of crops, hunting, health, luck and fortune and as a gesture of welcoming guests and visitors to the locality.

Participated in by all schools, civic groups and barangays, this is a dance and drama competition with street dancing and main cultural presentations.  Mayaw-Mayaw is unique as it depicts a revered tradition of the Waray people at its most authentic and original form.

May 18

Sanggutan Festival
Barugo, Leyte

The Barugo Sanggutan Festival honors the age-old process of coconut wine making that has been and will always be a part of the life of the Barubueño.

Sanggutan, the festival, is a dance of celebration.  It is a dance of men (the mananggetes) and women (their wives, sisters, daughters) involved in the production of the red wine.  It is also a dance of men and women enjoying the spirit of this gift from - literally - up high.  The costumes are the everyday wear of the mananggete and his family - which is to say the dominant color is red, because tuba dyes everything and everyone that it touches.

On a metaphorical sense, the Sanggutan dance is part of the ancient legend of birth and of origins: its choreography assigns to the mananggete the strong rhythmic movements of the mal element, and to the women dancers the swaying, receptive response of the fruitful coconut tree as the beloved female element.

The product of the union is tuba -- flowing, rising, growing and encompassing all.  It is choreographed, in its turn, as the dance of the drinkers without whose patronage winemaking as an industry loses all its liquidity -- in a manner of speaking.

May 25

Calbiga, Samar

In the middle eastern Philippines (Eastern Visayas), specifically in Samar Island where rugged mountains edged out available rice lands into stringy parcels, this funny-looking mannikin embodies socio-cultural symbols.  The ragged, emaciated strawman becomes for the harp-up rural man a symbol of human struggle against the harsh manifestations of nature and the elements, if not the social realities themselves.

In the Western Samar town of Calbiga, tribal memory goes back to a time when this "humanoid" had saved village folk from imminent famine by driving off marauding waves of pestilential maya or ricebirds.  While this memory may be partly legend, it had somehow formed a core of local practice revolving around the scarecrow or pahoy.

Pahoy-Pahoy had been a ritual of appropriation and invocation to the old animistic gods to protect and make fertile the tribe's rice lands and its agricultural endeavor.  Today, Calbiga's Pahoy-Pahoy has been assimilated into the Christian tradition of the yearly town fiesta in the form of the Pahoy-Pahoy Farmers' Festival.

During the festival, folks in the town's barangays vie among themselves in creating giant and medium pahoy from indigenous materials.  The giant scarecrows are paraded during the town fiesta, the more creatively entertaining the better.  The small pahoy line the town's streets like sentinels seemingly ready against unforeseen attacks of dark forces.

The Festival itself is an exercise in creativity.  It is also a contest on who could best interpret the "Pahoy Legend" of driving away the evils that beset the farmer through a variety of native dance steps accompanied by drums and other native musical instruments.  The favored costumes of performers are usually made of indigenous materials or like the scarecrows themselves, a patchwork of colorful discard clothings.

Calbiga's Pahoy-Pahoy Festival may not yet at present possess the orchestrated sophistication of Aklan's Ati-Atihan or the organized glitter of Cebu's Pit Señor!  but it certainly makes up for what it lacks (financially) with the performances that are not only charmingly rural but intensely passionate and relevant to the tawo in these times and climes.



The search for the cross by the saintly Queen Helena has lived on in the hearts and minds of men, women and children in the barangays who join the traditional nightly procession with their artistic lanterns and Santacruzan hymn in between the novena in honor of the Holy Cross.  The "parumpag" culminates the merry month of May.


[ pag-mayaw ]  ↑


[ sanggutan street-dancing ]  ↑

[ pahoy ]  ↑

[ santacruzan festivity ]  ↑




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Harvest time comes with the smell of the earth, the fragrance of fresh fruits and crops -- and an exciting calendar of Maytime activities.  Join us as we celebrate our agricultural heritage with a flurry of fun-filled farming fiestas.  Served, of course, with a smile and a dose of good old Filipino hospitality.