“Buglasan Festival is a convergence of the province best achievements in culture and the arts, and its finest tourism goods and services brought together in one central venue to be a conveniently experienced by visitors and Negrense alike. The festival serves to project and promote a unified Negros Oriental character.”
After hearing these words from the co-director of Buglasan 2018 stating the rationale, I know this explains how this festival become one of the unique festivals in the Philippines to witness, see and learn.
This event is the first in the country celebrating the festival of all festivals in a province. There are 19 municipalities and 6 cities in Negros Oriental and all of these are open to showcasing what their town can offer to the public or tourists on the event. These towns fitting out their arts, history, culture, tourist spots, and many others which are held annually in Dumaguete City every mid of October.
There are different competitions that the provincial tourism unit set up for a whole week celebration. One of the highlights is the town’s booth situated in Freedom Park where each participating town creatively display their best spot of their place either a waterfall, their delicacies, a mountain formation design booth, sharing their local music, craftsmanship, underwater creatures, or whatever each could think of. For a whole week, they are open from late in the afternoon until 12 midnight on which some requires a minimum entrance fee of Php 5.00 – Php 10.00 to get inside their booth.
The Friday’s various events are the awaited time for the people to witness, my family included as there are exciting to see on that day. Among those events, the festival showdown competition is what we plan on checking as we never had experienced this. So, my sister and I made our way to the sports complex early in the morning catching up the 8 o’clock 2018 opening of the competition. It is our first time witnessing the said affair and we both expect nothing about it but to fully enjoy the day. We sit on the right side corner near the front stage so we could get the best site and a good spot for documentation. The front main stage was intended only for the VIP guests, all the judges, and very special guests. The stadium seating on the upper side of the stage is empty and securities are making sure no one is occupying it. Just to give you an idea that every contingent is going to dance at the center of this sports complex, making the VIP stage as the front area.
The program started late as the special guest took a while to come in probably because she travels far, she’s from Davao City. The special guest is the Presidential daughter Atty Sarah Duterte who is also the current Mayor of Davao. Right after she set foot on the stage, the emcee then voiced out the best greeting, followed by an opening prayer and singing the national anthem headed by a singing group.
Governor Ruel Degamo formally welcomes the guests, participants and the people joining the Buglasan Festival of Festivals. He also gave his very quick important message and joyfully announced the success that Buglasan Festival has achieved. The very special guests Sarah Duterte gave her speech as well and surprised all the contingents with a Php 10,000.00 cash for each entry by inviting the winner to Davao City and join their festival next year. After which, the annual ritual dance has been performed before each contingent show what they got.
This year, the committee categorized this specific event into two which are the “Barangay” Category and the “Municipalities and Cities” category. There are 5 entries who joined in each category.
We sit on the stairs as we weren’t able to get a seat on the bench, the place is crowded almost all stairs are also occupied by the watchers.
As the first contingent started their presentation, the warm excitement of the audience can be felt within. These 10 contingents presentation are so colorful and vibrant, they each represent their town’s festival in an organized way showing the story of each. Take a look for yourself.
The showdown ended with the one from Sibulan Municipality, representing the Yagyag Festival. This group has won 3 consecutive years in the past, thus, their appearance this year is not included in the competition.
2 hours after the showdown competition, the same performers are doing the street dance. The weather perfectly blends the time of street dancing. People flocked to Perdices street as these dancers proudly march on the street and stop at one site demonstrating their festival dance and displaying their float with their King and Queen. Here are some photos you can check during the 2018 Buglasan Festival.
Our last stop of the day is in Freedom Park where all the booths are situated. There is also 3 stage set on different corners of the park that each has their own kind of affair. Food Kiosks are also settled at the center of the parkland. Delve into this kind of event on the same day regardless of the crowd as you can see some live shows and people jamming in.
Our full day in the city witnessing all of the events we wanted to experience is making us proud of having the Buglasan Festival as the festival of festivals in the Philippines. If you’d wish to come and see this, make some plans and do other stuff on the island.
For more ideas on what to do in Dumaguete City and Negros Oriental, check out these posts:
- 11 Recommended Places to Visit in Dumaguete City & Nearby Towns
Author: Ferna Mae
Ferna is a spontaneous traveler from the Philippines who had a great experience traveling her own country first before she embarked to other countries. She thrives to be more independent in her own skin. Connect with her at email@example.com