The Buglasan, the “Festival of Festivals” and the premier tourism project of the province of Negros Oriental, was born at the Foundation University campus on May 22, 1981.
Former FU President Marcelino Maxino thought of putting up a festival in the form of a competition among the different towns of Negros Oriental showcasing their folkdances. The winners, dancers from the towns themselves and not among the university students, were then sent to Manila to compete in the National Folk Arts Festival.
Some of the early participants were dancers from Zambuanguita with their local dance Polka Bianna, Inagta of Siaton, and the Kasalan of Dauin. The first winner was Siaton.
The Buglasan continued to grow as more towns joined the festivities triggered by the success of the participants who won 1st runner up in the NFAF in 1982, and the transfer of the venue of the competition from the FU campus to the Quezon Park.
Because of the political turmoil in the mid-80s and climaxing in the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, the Buglasan was suspended. However in 1995, it was revived to insure the participation of Negros Oriental in the World Tourism Month.
In 2000, the Buglasan was given its present designation as the “Festival of Festivals.” Subsequently in 2002, the Sagguniang Panlalawigan passed Ordinance No. 15 proclaiming the Buglasan Festival as the annual provincial fiesta celebration. From 2003 until now, the Buglasan Festival is celebrated in October. On Oct. 14, 2005, then President Gloria Arroyo formally declared the third Friday of October as Buglasan Day, making it a special holiday for Negros Oriental.
The Buglasan, by this time, has grown too big for Foundation University to handle. Thus, on Oct. 13, 2006, a historic passing of the torch, so to speak, was held at the Capitol Grounds.
The following account of the ceremony is told by blogger Aiken Emmanuel G. Quipot: “Gov. George Arnaiz accepted the Buglasan icon from Foundation University (President Mira D. Sinco) saying, ‘We are pleased to receive this Buglasan icon from Foundation University, where our Provincial Festival was born 25 years ago. With this symbol, a legacy formally passes from your institution to the people of Oriental Negros. The Buglasan Festival has become a precious part of our heritage, one that we are proud to call our own. Buglasan has come to define and reinforce the cultural character of our province. With the Buglasan Festival, we have found a special event that involves us all in vibrant collaboration and warm fellowship. Thank you very much, Foundation University.”
In 2008 and 2009, Foundation University attempted, without success, to get involved in the celebration of the Buglasan by offering to stage a marathon race because of its potential to lure the participation of tourists. This year was more fruitful as the Buglasan Committee approved the staging of the following events as part of the official schedule:
1. Sunday, Oct. 10 — The Robinsons Buglasan Quarter Marathon Wellness Walk (QMWW). Wellness and physical fitness enthusiasts take up walking as a form of exercise, and as an excellent means to explore and get to know the nooks and corners of a place that one happens to visit. It is for this reason that this event will be held to jumpstart the Buglasan festivities.
The QMWW was first held last year as a requirement for PE 1 at FU, Foundations of Physical Fitness classes. When a wellness survey of entering freshman students showed that about half of them exhibited “health risks” attributed to a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits, the FU administration decided to adopt walking as a form of exercise that could be used as a preventive measure against these health risks manifested by the students. The walking and completion of the full distance of the 10.5 km. QMWW in PE is now a requirement for graduation.
The challenge of the QMWW has intrigued and challenged many who undertake a physical fitness training program, that we decided to institutionalize it as a regular wellness activity and invite everybody to join us.
It involves walking 15 rounds around the Robinsons grounds. The walk, depending on the rate of walking, may take an hour or two, to complete. The starting gun fires off at exactly 6 in the morning; water stations are available to insure that walkers will be adequately hydrated; and walkers may stop and rest anytime–precautions adopted so they will not experience any discomfort associated with heat stress.
Certificates of achievement and an abaca bracelet crafted by FU CWTS will be awarded to all walkers who will complete the QMWW. After all, it is not everyday that one gets to walk the distance of 10.5 kilometers, the equivalent to walking all the way from the Capitol Area grounds to the Sibulan Church, and back to the City.
Quite a feat for everybody to experience and achieve. But its can be safely undertaken with adequate water, music, and bands playing for entertainment, and in the company of some 800 FU students, faculty, and staff.
We invite fitness and wellness enthusiasts in the University Town to join this fun-filled QMWW.
2. Sunday, Oct.17 — The Buglasan Duathlon and Road Races. The duathlon is a sporting event for mountain bikers who compete in a run- bike-run race.
For this Buglasan adventure duathlon, the competitors will initially run five kilometers (seven laps around the Robinsons Mall), mount their bikes and pedal 34 kilometers along Dumaguete streets and off-roads in the municipalities of Sibulan and Valencia, then pedal back to Robinsons Mall, and finish off with another three kilometers or four laps around the Robinsons Mall to cover a total of 42 kilometers.
An open quarter marathon (10.5k) road race, 5k finisher’s walk and race, and 3k children’s event will also be held.
The Buglasan Adventure Duathlon will, hopefully, become an integral part of the “Festival of Festivals” as it is being promoted by the Provincial Tourism Council. It is envisioned that next year, an adventure marathon will also complement the duathlon, and both events are anticipated to draw tourists from all part of the country, and internationally. Some 20 sacks of rice donated by the Provincial Tourism Council and OK Mart will be awarded to winners and participants.
3. Thursday, Oct. 21 – The Buglasan Children Rap & Hip-Hop Concert. This is an exciting competition where young children and youth rappers will sing and dance their original composition on the theme extolling the natural beauty of Negros Oriental as a desirable and wholesome place to visit.
Parents and spectators will love this event as they will witness children and youth energetically exhibiting their creative talents in song and dance, and all for the love of Negros Oriental. Five sacks of rice, donated by the Provincial Tourism Council will be awarded to the winners and participants.
FU Community thanks the Buglasan Committee for this opportunity to be part of the “Festival of Festivals.” I would especially like to thank Dr. Nick Elman, chair of the Buglasan Festival Committee and the Negros Oriental Tourism Council for making FU’s ardent desire to be part of this annual celebration a reality.
Likewise, I would also like to thank Woodrow “RR” Maquiling Jr., Provincial Tourism officer, who assured us of 15 sacks of rice that will be awarded to the participants. Interested mountain bikers and fitness walkers my contact landline (035) 422-9167, locals 165 (Paul/Hope), 113 (Olive), for further information.