Sabado, Oktubre 8, 2011

Kaimunan in Dayaw: Unified Diversity

Festivity. Diversity. Unity. Name it all! Kaimunan Festival has the whole spectrum of description. What was annually celebrated by the tribes of the twenty-three barangays of Tagum City was now celebrated by the whole country.

Seated on the traditional “banig,” the participants to the 2011 Dayaw Festival awaited what the host tribe Mansaka has to offer for the night. The night started with the prayer ritual, offering to the Magbabaya (God) the whole celebration.

Dances performed by tribal children and chants welcomed the guests with the occasional cry of “Ha” from audience which seemed to startle some from the crowd. But with a sense of respect, everyone kept their question to themselves until the chanter explained that the cry signified agreement and applause to the performance compelling the audience to shout also the unison cry.

Various performances dominated the stage like the courtship dance wooing the woman with the use of cloth swayed from side to side finally culminating with female giving in and exchanging the cloth with the partner making the male smile from ear to ear which meant an affirmative response from the lady.

Dibabawon also performed their dance accentuated by the stomping of the feet making the small bells attached to their belt create a beat synchronized with the beat from the kulintang ensemble.

With the gentle cadence produced by the kudlong performance by Datu Rudy Onlos,tribal chieftan of Tagum City, dancers adolescent and children alike exhibited their various hand movements and turning making the whole stage burst with life.

As the performers went downstage to the visitors, commonality set in. Every tribe could not help but move their feet, sway their hands in the air and shout the unison Mansaka cry. This was not enough. Moved by the upbeat and crescendo of the music, one tribe mingled with the other through dances. Some went to the stage, others went downstage.

Reds, blues, and yellows mixed together in increasing intensity. Musicians smiled to the glee of watching how culture has interwoven through dances. The elders taught the teens of other tribes about their dance steps. Some gave their personal ornaments like earrings and necklace as a sign of sheer acceptance and lasting friendship. Spectators had even participated in the community dance.

The whole scenario drove one to ethereal madness brought by unexplainable joy of watching how diversity produced unity. One could not help but shed a tear, not of sadness, but of profound joy witnessing the unexpected reality that all tribes are just one despite differences.

The festivity ended with sumptuous food served in banana leaves. Cooked in a piece of bamboo, the “lot” – chicken and cat fish mixed with herbs (ganda and lapaste) considered as condiment only found within the Mansaka tribe satisfied one’s craving for exotic food. All trace of the sophistication of the elite has all vanished with everyone eating with their bare hands and squatting on the floor.

Thirst was finally quenched with the “bais”, the traditional wine made from ginger. Once the rare beverage touched the tongue, one could taste the sweetness of honey, the sting of whiskey and the aftertaste of heaven.

If only the night could last forever, then the venue would have become a paradise. A place where no enmity exist. A place of genuine peace. A place everyone is dreaming. Harley Aglosolos


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