Kaamulan’s Ethnic Celebration

Kaamulan Festival, Bukidnon © Jojie Alcantara

Kaamulan Festival, Bukidnon © Jojie Alcantara

The Province of Bukidnon is historically recognized as ancestral home to seven indigenous hill tribes, namely: Bukidnon, Higaonon, Manobo, Talaandig, Matigsalug, Tigwahanon and Umayamnon. From the dialect “amul” (to gather), comes a special gathering of ceremonies for tribal communities (wedding, harvest, thanksgiving, peace rites, etc.), and it was named Kaamulan.
Ground Presentation in Kaamulan Festival © Jojie Alcantara

Ground Presentation in Kaamulan Festival © Jojie Alcantara

Held annually as a major celebration in the region of Northern Mindanao, the Kaamulan Festival is one of the most authentic ethnic festivals I have witnessed by far. Though I have been to small scale tribal fests before, this was a most spectacular and popular one. It is held in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon from February (2nd half) to March 10, culminating in the founding anniversary of Bukidnon as a province in 1917.

Lumad street performance © Jojie Alcantara

Lumad street performance © Jojie Alcantara

It was a heartwarming scene, ethnic folks letting their hair down for this event—and I mean literally. The long-haired ones bore down on me with spears in their hands, posing a warlike stance as I capture them up close with the tip of the spear close to my lens. One charming old man with an unforgettable Gene Simmons’ hairdo and traditional garb gave me a playful wink.

Foreign Red Cross guy enjoying the dance celebration © Jojie Alcantara

Foreign Red Cross guy enjoying the dance celebration © Jojie Alcantara

Though the celebration continued for days to come, the street dancing was the most anticipated, marked with excitement in the air.  The infectious music of Pinikpikan’s Kaamulan theme echoed in the grounds. People started dancing, jumping, and shaking to the neo-ethnic pulsating rhythm of tribal beats. I stopped shooting and turned on my video while dancing with a spear-toting short man in loincloth. You have to watch it on my youtube, though. For more information on how to get there, visit www.bukidnon.gov.ph.

Above paragraphs are excerpts from my published article “Bukidnon’s Kaamulan Festival 2012″.  Read the rest of my story with more images here)

Will update you when I have posted my video on youtube.  Meanwhile, I share with you me and my new found friend.

Me and new found friend © Dennis Lim

Me and new found friend       © photo byDennis Lim

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