ArchivesOctober 2010Buglasan 2010: Showcasing cultural traditions

Buglasan 2010: Showcasing cultural traditions

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Aficionados of cultural spectacles will be amply rewarded when all the contingents, representing the many festivals from all over the province of Oriental Negros, assembles for the streetdancing competition/ showdown as the main highlights in the 10-day revelry of the Buglasan Festival that begins Oct. 15. {{more}}

This event is staged to dramatize Oriental Negros’ claim to fame – as the only province in the country with at least one streetdancing and showdown festival each month. This is the first and only event of its kind in the Philippines! It is also a festival with a grand history! Buglasan’s nascence in 1981, under the auspices of Foundation University and the Negros Oriental Balikatan sa Kaunlaran, was spearheaded by the late Bayanihan Dance Company founder-choreographer, National Artist for Dance Lucresia Reyes-Urtula, to organize and select the provincial performing delegation for the Annual Folk Arts Festival at the CCP.

The first Buglasan winners comprised Oriental Negros’ contingent to the first National Folk Arts Festival in Manila, and that of the following year in the Folk Arts Festival in Leyte; gaining accolades and awards for the province in both instances. In the mid ‘80s, the festival seemed to rest on its laurels. The lull could be attributed to the civil unrest in the hinterlands, particularly of the continuing clash between the military and the rebels. The festival was revived in 1990 as part of Oriental Negros’ celebration of its centennial as a province. A very apt move, as the the province’s name used to be Buglas, after the reed grasses that filled the land when the Spanish surveyors first visited Negros Island. Dubbed “Buglasan: Festival of Festivals,” the celebration will bring together a dozen of Oriental Negros’ distinctive festival traditions.

In a province with at least one fiesta each month, efforts have been widespread in promoting each town or city’s indigenous cultural traditions. The streetdancing presentations and other related activities will surely enhance the color and excitement of every local town fiesta. The Yagyag Festival of Sibulan town was the grand winner in the DoT’s national festivals showdown in 2000 at the Quirino Grandstand. Buglasan 2010 is greenlighted by the 2-day organic farm congress and the search for the Buglasan King & Queen. The rest of the festival will also see competitions in such cultural gems as balak, balitaw and harana as well as the rondalla and cumparsa. The MTV-generation won’t be disappointed with the singing and cheerdance competitions. The tail-end of the revelry will culminate in the grand showdown of the streetdancing delegations. Fireworks display will signal the culmination of the event.

“The event hopes to balance the private sector with government funding. There will be no lock-out of products although we will give priority to stakeholders who’ve been with us since the beginning. We wrote everybody to participate but in the end it boiled down to who has the most degree of support. The committee signed a memorandum of agreement with the Negros Oriental Business Development Foundation for government support of an allocated budget. The Department of Tourism likewise earmarked a fund for the event. There will be fifty events in close to two weeks of fun-filled activities,” revealed festival co-chair Glynda Descuatan during a media conference.

Visiting tourists could also use some of their free time exploring the province’s exciting destinations. Down south is the municipality of Dauin for those who want to commune with nature and explore the colors of the deep in Apo Island. As to modernity, the quiet and quaint town of Dauin has some of the best world-class resort hotels one can find in the entire archipelago.

A case in point is the Bahura Beach Resort with its sprawling verdant property offering breathtaking sceneries whether viewed from within or without. Located some 16 kilometers south of Dumaguete City is one hideaway not oft-seen. From the coast up to six kilometers inland, the land is smooth to relatively flat. From this point, the topography rises rather gently and then very abruptly after three kilometers and tapers off a little bit until it reaches the foothills of the majestic Cuernos de Negros mountain ranges.

Valencia town’s Forest Camp, the Province’s little Baguio, is one serene place; a treasure trove of endemic species that have piqued the interest of both scientist and tourist. Down southwards, midway to the ranges, is the pristine Balanan Lake in Siaton while further down northwards are the twin lakes of Danao and Balinsasayao in San Jose. After a scenic cruise in the latter, be sure to drop by the plush Azalea Restaurant for a meal or merienda before heading off to the city’s night lights.

For those who love the sea, hie off to Manjuyod’s White sand bar, an atoll that rises above the seawaters at neap tide, after going on a dolphin watching tour in the nearby city of Bais.

The closing of this year’s Buglasan Festival will give way to the national UniGames, with Dumaguete City playing host. “All in all, Buglasan 2010 will not only showcase the province’s economic growth but also inculcate to every visitor our value-driven culture of tourism,” enthused festival director Dr. Nichol Elman. This year’s festival is produced by the provincial government of Oriental Negros, in cooperation with the provincial tourism unit of the governor’s office and the Sidlakang Negros Foundation. (Earl DC Bracamonte/Daily Tribune)

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