Wednesday, November 14, 2007

MunaTo '07 celebartes Sarangani Cultural Heritage

ALABEL, Sarangani (November 13, 2007) – Upbeat with its tourism and natural potentials, Sarangani pays tribute to its people and cultural history with the yearly MunaTo Festival and the province's 15th Foundation Anniversary this month.

Munato is a local native term for "first people".

The MunaTo as provincial festival was conceptualized taking on the significance of the archaeologists discovery of burial jars in Pinol Cave, Maitum town, in 1992.

The jars, dating back to around 2,000 years ago, were believed to have been relics of the first civilization in this part of Mindanao. The Maitum Jars are now exhibited in the National Museum.

Sarangani gives homage to diverse culture and people where the five-day provincial festival will showcase their traditional arts and crafts, dresses and dances.

"Overtime, constant mingling of people with diverse cultures can slough off differences while reinforcing ethnic identities," wrote historian Heidi Gloria.

The provincial government's School of Living Tradition (SLT) with funds coming from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) reaches out to Sarangani Indigenous Peoples in both developing and preserving their cultures and ethnic origins.

Among these are the myths and legends of the tribes like the Tagakaolos of Malungon.

"Long time ago, Prophet Lumabet and his followers were on a long journey," retold the Datus of Tagakaolos.

"They got thirsty and when they saw a big rock, Lumabet struck his spear on the rock eight times and water flowed from it. And so it was called the Walong Tinugbulan or Eight Springs."

Then Lumabet drank water from the spring with a bamboo cup. The water spilled on the ground which became the origin of Lake Danao in Malita, Davao del Sur."

There are 14,000 Tagakaolos scattered in the communities and high land villages of Malungon but particularly in Kityan where its largest 319 families reside.

"This November, we are going to inaugurate our training center where our youth and women make artifacts and dresses," tribal leader Narcisa Galgo said.

The Munato Festival opens on November 23 with Fabli Gu Ni, a B'aan term for 'I am selling this' a trade fair of native artifacts that will attract buyers and tourists. (SARANGANI INFORMATION OFFICE/RGP)

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