Kaamulan Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Mindanao. It is said to be a celebratory congregation of Bukidnon’s seven indigenous groups, namely the Bukidnon, Tigwahanon, Higaonon, Manobo, Matigsalug, Talaandig, and Umayamnon. The term Kaamulan comes from the Binukid word “amul” meaning “to gather” – as the aim of the festival is to gather and bind the different indigenous groups of the province.
The celebration began in the year 1974 during the town fiesta when local officials specifically Edilberto Mamawag, invited some tribespeople to perform their cultural dances in honor of San Isidro Labrador, the town’s former vice mayor. Unlike other festivals, the participants of the Kaamulan Festival are people belonging to different ethnic groups, which makes it the one of the few ethnic festival in the Philippines!
Presenting Rich and Diverse Bukidnon Culture
Kaamulan Festival is held annually in the city’s provincial capital, Malaybalay City. It usually starts around the second half of February up to March. Celebrating this festival today usually means and bears different purposes. It can be a thanksgiving festival during harvest time, a peace pact, a wedding ceremony, a datuship ritual or all these combined! Indeed, this has been the reason why this long celebration is surely jampacked of festivities and activities for its people and other tourists who want to visit Bukidnon.
The celebration’s activities are unchanged even after centuries. It still includes its authentic rituals such as the Pangampo (general worship), the Tagulambong hu Datu (ritual for the installation of a Chieftain), the Panlisig (a rite to drive away evil spirits), the Panumanod (a spiriting ceremony), and the Pamalas (sin atonement ritual). Each activity reflects the diversity and richness of the Bukidnon culture, and that’s what makes it meaningful.
Highlighting Local Products
The present Kaamulan Festival has now highlighted not only their people but their local products and establishments that abound in the province. These products are displayed and sold thru food fests, garden shows, Kaamulan bazaars, agri-fairs, livestock shows, and many more. The town has also incorporated crowd-drawing events such as Motocross, Rodeo, Amateur Boxing, Basketball tournaments, adventure races, concerts, off-road competitions, and several other events that can promote the city.
This is seen as an effective way to recognize and appreciate the Bukidnon’s unraveled cultural legacy that has been preserved for centuries. It also serves as the best ground for the people of Bukidnon to gather and become one as a community. Above all, the celebration not only helps in converging the past and the present, but also aims to celebrate abundant culture, inspire its people, and shape the region’s brighter future.
Kaamulan Festival: The True Wonders
As you come to visit the region for the Kaamulan Festival, there are also tourist spots you can visit and sightsee. Some are the Dahilyan Forest Park, Mount Dulang-Dulang, Pulangi River, and the fog-laden pine-wooded hills of Malaybalay City.
Indeed, Bukidnon has always been as a perfect and soothing destination, both for its festivities and tourist spots. You get to see colorful costumes, ethnic dances, local products, and different activities prepared by its people. But beyond that, perhaps the best wonder of Kaamulan Festival is its unique and rich indigenous culture that lives up to this day – and the days to come!
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