IDENTITY: “Tell me what your festivals are”

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By nature, Capizeños are hospitable and lovers of festivals. And because by nature, we want to see and enjoy life at its brightest side. Festivals have become part of our local culture.

Proof of this natural inclination is the growing number of festivals that we have put up, at least in Roxas City and in the province of Capiz.

Being considered as the gateway in the island of Panay, Capiz province is the center of culture of Capizeños in this part of the archipelago.

Before we tried to organize or initiate festivals of various stripes and colors to make a name in the community of cities and provinces nationwide. Thus, we have Halaran, Sinadya, Sinadya sa Halaran, Cutflower festival, Diwal festival, and the controversial Aswang festival before the establishment of CAPIZtahan, the mother of all festivals in Capiz.

Right now, the city and municipality have at least one local festival of their own, usually on the feast of its patron saint, so that there is always a fiesta going on in the agri-fishery province of Capiz through good times and bad times.

Roxas City’s Sinadya festival and in the first district towns festivals, these include, Hil-o Hil-o of Maayon, Lingga-anay of Panay, Tugbong of Panitan, Tagbu-an of Pilar, Guyum-Guyum of Pontevedra and Saulog of President Roxas.

In the second district municipalities were Agdahanay of Cuartero, Pasalamat of Dao, Dinagsa of Dumalag, Padagyaw of Dumarao, Buyloganay of Ivisan, Pangahaw of Jamindan, Inilusan of Mambusao, Tilibyugan of Sapian, Hil o anay of Sigma and Patabang of Tapaz.

Since we consider festivals as part of our culture, we banner them as labels that depict who we are as a people. In other words, identity.

This is just like to borrow from aphorism, thus: “Tell me what your festivals are and I will tell you who you are.”

These we consider as festivities that we believe would set us apart from others or give us a distinct identity.

Have we tried to ascertain by some form of evaluation process if these festivals truly serve their purpose?

We have too many festivals, hoping they would proudly declare aloud that “this is it,” but have they brought home the message that we longed to send out?

Otherwise, instead of representing us this myriad of festivals would sow confusion as to what really do we want about our cultural identity.

Worse, we might just be wasting precious money for one week or two weeks trying to put up a show for the sake of putting up one, without counting the expenses and consequences.

Now, the newly formed “Maragtas Foundation,” a non-government organization tasked to handle festivals and other activities will be the key to identity?

Nevertheless, let’s give ourselves a benefit of the doubt about our intentions and let the people decide whether they are still worth their time under the spotlight and let us continue with the festivals, no matter how many they are, most of all the desire to depict the real Capizeños is still there.

Ed Basilonia
Ed Basilonia
a veteran journalist for more than two decades. He wrote for almost all local newspapers in the province as well as for a national daily as a correspondent. Ed was also the head of the Capiz Provincial Press Bureau for two governors. He was the head of the press bureau when they won as the best information office of an LGU in Western Visayas for the first time ever. He is a public relations practitioner and a media relations expert. He is now a successful businessman but has retained his love for writing.

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