In celebration of Bukidnon’s centenary as a province, the Philippines’s most authentic ethnic festival was made even bigger and grander – the Kaamulan Festival. Originally, this spectacular event is celebrated during second half of February to the first week of March but this year, in line with the province’s centennial celebration, Kaamulan Festival was moved to August to make the celebration more meaningful and historic! With its theme “100 Years of Legacy”, truly the celebration of this year’s Kaamulan Festival was a tremendous success.
Kaamulan Festival is a cultural festival that showcases the rich customs and traditions of the 7 ethnic hill tribes of Province of Bukidnon. They are the Talaandig, Higaonon, Umayamnon, Manobo, Tiwahanon, Matigsalug, and Bukidnon, the early settlers of the Province. “Kaamulan” is from the Binukid word “amul” which means “to gather” and “Kaamulan” means a gathering for a purpose. Hence, the festival is an annual gathering of the 7 tribes of Bukidnon in celebration of their rich culture and tradition along with local dwellers of this landlocked province.
Held annually in Malaybalay City, the capital town of the province, Kaamulan Festival is considered as the biggest annual event in Northern Mindanao. It has drawn tourists all over the island and has slowly captivated the hearts of festival fanatics from different parts of the country. It displays the colorful artistry, innate talents, and diverse culture and heritage in the whole province. It adds more colors to the Province’s verdant hills, cool climate, lush forest, magnificent waterfalls, cold springs and vast lakes.
Participated by cultural groups whose ways of life have remained untouched through the tests of times, Kaamulan is characterized by the authentic rituals and cultural dances based on the customs and traditions of indigenous peoples. Pangampo (general worship), the Tagulambong hu Datu (ritual for the installation of a Chieftain), the Panumanod (a spiriting ceremony), the Panlisig (rite to drive away evil spirits), and the Pamalas (sin atonement ritual) were among those being showcased during this celebration which can be mostly witnessed during the street dancing festivity. And each tribe represented by different contingent coming from 22 municipalities of the province reflects the richness and diversity of the Bukidnon culture.
Unlike other festivals, 75% of the participants of the street dancing competition are real members of the ethnic group of the Province. The main dancers, chanters, drumbeaters, ritual performers – most of them come from the seven hill tribes of Bukidnon. Rituals are performed by elders of each tribe and indigenous music are played using indigenous musical instruments. Their colorful woven costumes, headdresses, amulets, anklets, earrings and necklaces beautifully depict their rich colorful tradition. All these make this event the most authentic Ethnic Festival in the Philippines.
ONE HUNDRED CAPTURED MOMENTS. ONE KAAMULAN VIBE.
As festival fanatic having witnessed Kaamulan Festival for another time, I have to agree that indeed “Kaamulan Festival is undoubtedly the only authentic ethnic festival in the Philippines”. It is actually diversely authentic giving me one good reason to come every year and commune with the 7 Hill Tribes of the Province for another colorful celebration of Kaamulan Festival.