KAAMULAN FESTIVAL: THE MOST AUTHENTIC ETHNIC FESTIVAL IN THE PHILIPPINES
“Kaamulan” is from the Binukid word “amul” which means “to gather” and “Kaamulan” is a gathering for a purpose. Hence, the festival is an annual gathering of the 7 ethic tribes of Bukidnon, namely: Matigsalog, Tigwahanon, Higaonon, Talaandig, Manobo, Umayamnon and Bukidnon, the early settlers of the Province, in celebration of their rich customs and traditions along with local dwellers of Bukidnon and a thanksgiving for good harvest.
The first Kaamulan celebration was held on May 15, 1974 as a celebration of the municipality of Malaybalay. Soon, the festival became a regional festival of all the local tribes and making it a central tourist attraction in Mindanao.
So why is it that the Kaamulan called as the most authentic festival? If most of the festivals in other places are mostly participated by students and community-based groups who were portraying ethnic traditions of one town. In Kaamulan, it is the real indigenous peoples who attract the crowds. Because 75% of the participants, from dancers, chanters, drumbeaters, and ritual performers are real members of the seven ethnic tribes of the Province making it the most diversely authentic Ethnic Festival in the Philippines.
Aside from the street dancing festival, I really enjoyed the cultural night in Bukidnon, entitled: PINILIYAPAN: Glimpses of Bukidnon, wherein elders performing an array of dances and rituals using real native drums and musical instrument. It was truly one of its kinds.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest airport to Bukidnon is the Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. Upon reaching the airport, you can take a bus to Bukidnon at around 104 kilometers. Travel time is around 1 and half hour. The capital city could also be reached from Davao City via Salawagan Quezon Bukidnon and that is about 208 kilometers with an estimated time travel of three and a half hours.
Other public transportation such as public utility jeepneys and vans for hire are also available. Just make sure to agree on the price prior to your engagement.
Since Bukidnon is a landlocked province, sea transportation is generally through its closest port, the Port of Cagayan de Oro City then takes the transportation by land to reach the cities and municipalities in Bukidnon. Several ferry services are available connecting Cagayan de Oro City to seaports in the cities of Cebu, Manila, Bohol and other ports in Luzon and Visayas.
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(Contributor: Jerry Manilag)