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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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 ]