The day following the Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon, the Biniray Festival continues with a street dance parade. The festival re-enacts how the Señor Sto Niño was attempted to be taken away from Romblon Island en route to Madrid but was averted by storms. Only the image to be returned back to its place. A colorful parade of atis, similar to Ati-atihan adds color to the revelry. This time each baranggay trying to best each other in costume and performance.
The idyll coastal poblacion in Romblon Island, Romblon becomes festive beginning the 2nd Friday of January as revelers flock at the 400-year old St Joseph Cathedral. Devotees gather in front of the church to observe the spiritual practice of the Tonton ng Sto Niño de Romblon. The Tonton, a Romblomanon word meaning to lower the image of the Sto Niño down the pedestal. This practice usher’s the official opening of Biniray Festival which last for a week.
The 3rd Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival held last September 27-28, 2019 finally concluded. It was not without challenges as the haze coming from Indonesia forced the organisers to move the event to an indoor venue. It may have lost its “waterfront” feel but the coming together of jazz artist from different parts of the world and sharing their expression of this eclectic genre of music remains. The heart of jazz still brims loudly at the humble MBKS Community Hall. Ironwulf.net was fortunate enough to witness this revelry and what could be a milestone for the annual event as the Philippines participate in this annual musical gathering in this lively city in Borneo.
I grew up with jazz music as one of my soundtracks of my youth. I can clearly remember beach trips with family with smooth jazz setting the mood in the air while lounging by the sand and sharing stories with siblings and parents. Kenny G, Swing Out Sisters, Style Council where blaring through cassette tape players then. Then came modern jazz artist that accompanied travels like Norah Jones, Michael Bubble and some Everything But the Girl. I may not listen to them as often lately but memories associated with them are always pleasant and strong. Music somehow makes our lives more sweeter. Memories of road trips more vivid with songs. And with much excitement I’ll be visiting Kuching, Malaysia next week for the Kuching Waterfront Jazz Festival. Now on its third year this 2019, this festival brings together a round of talented jazz art from Asia and beyond on a 2 day musical festival this 27-28th of September, 2019. It would be a good opportunity to get familiar with other talents from our neighbouring countries.
It took me 12 years before I stepped my foot on back to the island of province of Catanduanes. And what better time than in the midst of their festivities. The 2018 Abaca Festival is on their 3rd year. The month long celebration aims to showcase their native abaca fiber or Manila hemp which is one of the main products of the province and source of livelihood. The month-long festival have pockets of activity culminating towards the 4th week of May. One of the much awaited is the Bicol Festival of Festivals Showdown where contingents from Bicol region participate in a dance showdown. A colorful revelry with heart pounding beats and awe-inspiring performance. An exciting return to what is now known as the Happy Island!
I like non-commercial festivals like the Agal-agal Festival in Tawi-tawi. They are refreshing and different. Unlike popular festivals that honors the Sto Niño, Agal-Agal Festival celebrates the way of life of the Sama people. From harvesting agal-agal (seaweeds), courtships, and even the supernatural. I was excited to see the Agal-Agal Festival 2017 since I enjoyed witnessing it the first time three years ago in Bongao. This year, the 44th Kamahardikaan Festival is hosted by the municipality of Languyan.
Isabela consist of 34 municipalities and 3 cities in a province. It is the second largest province in the country. The vast area consist of agricultural plains, forested areas of the Sierra Madres and coastal towns. As one of the top corn producers in the country, Isabela found the bambanti, an Ilocano term for scarecrow, as a significant icon, symbolizing Isabela farmer’s diligence and resoluteness to earn his keep, feed his family and produce for the community. Hence the Bambanti Festival was born in January 2013. It aims to unite the municipalities, showcase their creativity, unique products and increase tourism.