Monday, March 07, 2005


i love festivals!

blame kadayawan for starting it all. somehow the dancing and the merry making, the colors, the food and the smiles of people everywhere makes going to one such a thing that i look forward to.

three years in a row for kadayawan.

and just this weekend, two years in a row for the kaamulan festival in bukidnon!

i have anticipated the weekend just passed as a quiet one. with all the savings for the jvp GR that i have to do and all about taking a rest, i have somehow convinced myself of that. however, come wednesday last week, those should have's were shelved with ninin and me texting about taking that road trip to malaybalay.

last year, i also made a similar trip, left davao at 2am then came back 2am the following day. around 24 hours... that was all it took me.

i couldn't resist the call of adventure. and at 1am saturday, ninin (23/24), mehane (24) (last one to be convinced), tatit (19) and me (23) started our kaamulan festival.

kaamulan in binukid means "social gathering." and what a social gathering it was.

we arrived in malaybalay before sunrise. wasn't that cold though when we arrived, but the fame of malaybalay as the baguio of mindanao was made clearer to us as we rode the motorela to the cartwheel dorm in impalambong. if there is such a thing as cold going through the skin and reaching the bones, that was probably how the wind greeted us davao migrants. it was so freaking cold, i cannot stop my teeth from chattering.

breakfast was served at hotel aleman. it's a small, nice hotel located along fortich avenue, along the highway. its pretty new too, so the walls are still bright and the place smelling fresher. together with nikki (22/23), dindin (25) elene day and paolo, buffet was served. pretty cheap for tender tocino, freshly cooked eggs, some ampalaya, fried rice, and bangus. fair enough i say.

then it was the main event, the street dancing. the reason why we hied off our bags to take the trip. i was the maniniyot of ninin's cam, together with tat (holding on to andy's) , that pretty much gave us the license to get to the street across the cordons which the city government must have established to keep the crowd in check. with real anticipation and excitement building up, we took on our respective roles. the drum beats seems to be getting nearer. and when they came, the dancing just blew me away.

"tis is way, way, way better than kadayawan!" i said. it was as if i felt real emotions coming from the dancers. clad in traditional lumad costumes, i felt that they were dancing, as if the dance is a part of their lives. i didn't see any lips mumbling numbers or the tempo, but it was as if they were moving with the drumbeats, all synchronized, without missing a bit. the dances felt so alive! even my challenged sense of beat dared to dance with them.

the sincerity of the dance was amazing. not unlike in the kadayawan where you see grade school kids, perspiring under the heat of the sun, professional dancers who are just there to show off their wares. the kaamulan street dancing is not for anyone but the dancers themselves. now i understand waway when he talks passionately about his people, the talaandigs. now i see that the same level of expression that jun-jun and sultan exudes are shared with the lumads that came to dance.

the energy is so much alive. even the crowds showed their appreciation by clapping their hands. a real show of authentic dances and expressions that are true to form. i mean am no expert in lumad dances, much less of their culture. but i am no stranger in the expression of passions. and if that brief moment when my heart beat danced with the beat of the drums and the arms and legs of some of the lumads of bukidnon was an indication of just that, then i do not know anything else.

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