For the second year in a row, I witnessed another spectacular staging of the country’s most celebrated festival of hats, the Talakudong Festival of Tacurong City in the Province of Sultan Kudarat. And like last year, I was left stunned and charmed after seeing performances of the six contingents competing for the most coveted prize proving that this festival of hats is among the best festivals in South Central Mindanao.
Among the many festivities held every year in the City of Goodwill, Talakudong Festival is the most celebrated event. Not only because it is celebrated alongside the commemoration of the founding anniversary of Tacurong but because it has the most historical significance to the city and its people.
A neo-ethnic festival, Talakudong Festival is the city’s tribute to the most prized symbol of the Tacurong’s history – the kudong, a head covering worn by early settlers of this city. Talakudong which comes from the word kudong refers to something that covers the head against the sun and rain. It is said that the early people of Tacurong gave the Sultan of Buluan, now Buluan town in Maguindanao, a golden kudong as a special gift for his enduring efforts in instituting peace and progress in the area. Hence kudong becomes symbolic to the city and its people. In fact, the name Tacurong is derived from this emblematic Talakudong.
Coined as the festival of hats, Talakudong Festival has become a historical and cultural spectacle in South Central Mindanao that draws attention from nearby provinces and region. It is highlighted by street-dancing and field demonstrations with well-decorated talakudong accompanied by the lively sound of bamboos and drums. The dances and performances showcase the history of Tacurong from being a barrio of Buluan into a multi-cultural town of Sultan Kudarat and eventually into a bustling city.
Like the previous staging of Talakudong Festival, competing contingents from the different schools and districts of the city spent months rehearsing for the most coveted prize and honor as the grand champion of the Street Dancing Competition. Every year, these contingents who are grouped into different tribes never fail to surprise and charm spectators with their well-choreographed performances and exhibitions highlighting talakudong as the festival icon. Thus, Tacurongnons and even local tourists coming the different parts of SoCCSKSSarGen Region always look forward to this event.
There were six groups competed in this year’s Talakudong Street Dancing Competition. There are two sets of the competition, “Lumbayag sa Dalanon” (street dance) and “Kiay-Kiay sa Talakudong” (field demonstration). Out of the six competing groups, it was Tribung Kudong that emerged as the Grand Champion beating other Tribes namely Tribung Manubiaw, Tribung Kadsayap, Tribung Salakot and Tribung Naragsak.
Witnessing Talakudong Festival for the second year makes me see how Tacurongnons value the importance of their history and culture to their present day lives. Even kudongs these days are used by its people and it is so remarkable to see how they work to preserve this innate culture making it one of their principal goals. Truly, Talakudong Festival blends the city’s colorful past and vibrant present promising its people a brighter future.
A big shout-out of thanks and gratitude to Tacurong City Mayor Lina O. Montilla and City Tourism Officer Emelie Jamorabon for inviting me this year to experience once more the vibe of Talakudong Festival. The same goes out to all the staffs of the City Government for making our stay very remarkable. To all Tacurongnons, congratulations and Mabuhay!
YOU CAN ALSO VIEW MY VIDEO BLOG ABOUT TALAKUDONG FESTIVAL 2015 HERE.