Kaamulan Festival

Malaybalay, Bukidnon

The Kaamulan Festival started in 1977. The first staging was for three days but its beginnings were already auspicious, with the ambassador from the People's Republic of China in attendance, along with the French ambassador, who had said then: "The Kaamulan is an impressive cultural undertaking."

In Malaybalay, Bukidnon, the Kaamulan Festival's idea derived from the settlement of conflicts. "Aside from settling territorial fights among different indigenous groups, it was also a social gathering for the tribes," says DOT Region 10 director Dorothy Jean Pabayo.

The Kaamulan, a Bukidnon term for "gathering," could mean a datuship ritual, a wedding ceremony, a thanksgiving during harvest time, a peace pact or all of these together.

And what started out as a purely tribal activity has become a full-fledged annual festival that brings locals and foreign tourists to this cool Malaybalay town.

The Kaamulan's attractions include an agro-food fair, a trade fair, street-dancing and field competitions, parades and the staple concerts and discos, along with indigenuous rituals and sports, like the horsefight and rodeo games, like calf wrestling and lassoing. (Text and pictures from Sunstar Horizons)