Budayaw, a rich ASEAN festival, held for first time in PH

General Santos City, known as the country's tuna capital, is now hosting an international cultural festival, held for the first time in the Philippines.

Budayaw Festival, which kicked off last September 20, showcases the diversity of performances and creative expressions from cultural masters and artists in the Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). For the Philippines, the BIMP-EAGA is especially focused on Mindanao and Palawan.

DIVERSITY. Performances, like this from the Philippines, showcase the uniqueness of each country. Photo by Leon Pangilinan Jr/NCCA

DIVERSITY. Performances, like this from the Philippines, showcase the uniqueness of each country.

Photo by Leon Pangilinan Jr/NCCA

Budayaw is a combination of two words: the Malay word budaya, meaning culture, and the Filipino word dayaw, meaning celebration.

The theme for this year's festival, "Taking Pride in the Creative Diversity of the BIMP-EAGA Region," is portrayed through vibrant performances, colorful and detailed art exhibits, and other events like cultural workshops and lectures.

Budayaw is spearheaded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in partnership with other agencies like the Department of Tourism Region XII, which General Santos City is a part of.

FESTIVAL OPENING. The festival officially began last September 20 with traditional dance performances. Photo by Faith Yangyang/NCCA

FESTIVAL OPENING. The festival officially began last September 20 with traditional dance performances.

Photo by Faith Yangyang/NCCA

PROUDLY FILIPINO. Filipino artist-singer Joey Ayala performing during the opening ceremony. Photo by Faith Yangyang/ NCCA

PROUDLY FILIPINO. Filipino artist-singer Joey Ayala performing during the opening ceremony.

Photo by Faith Yangyang/ NCCA

The public can watch some of the performances from the participating countries on each day of the festival. Performances are a combination of modern and traditional, notable of which are traditional dances and performances of indigenous musical instruments. 

INDONESIA. Traditional dance performance from Indonesia. Photo by Faith Yangyang/NCCA

INDONESIA. Traditional dance performance from Indonesia.

Photo by Faith Yangyang/NCCA

BRUNEI. Another traditional dance, this time from Brunei. Photo courtesy of MSU-CETD Integrated Multimedia group, Budayaw Facebook page

BRUNEI. Another traditional dance, this time from Brunei.

Photo courtesy of MSU-CETD Integrated Multimedia group, Budayaw Facebook page

Another noteworthy performance is the "Southern Weaves," a fashion show of clothes designed using indigenous fabrics. Creations from Mindanao designers were paraded in the KCC Convention Hall’s runway, followed by creations using Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao fabrics by veteran Filipino designer Renee Salud. 

RAINBOW. These colorful gowns in the fashion show are made using Zamboanga Peninsula's indigenous textiles. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

RAINBOW. These colorful gowns in the fashion show are made using Zamboanga Peninsula's indigenous textiles.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

ABACA. Renee Salud designed this dress using abaca from the Bicol Region. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

ABACA. Renee Salud designed this dress using abaca from the Bicol Region.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

VIBRANT SHAPES. This colorful dress, another design of Saludu2019s, uses indigenous weaves from Muslim Mindanao. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

VIBRANT SHAPES. This colorful dress, another design of Saludu2019s, uses indigenous weaves from Muslim Mindanao.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

Different art and culture exhibits can also be viewed in the mentioned malls. A visual arts exhibit where works from participating countries are on display can be visited at Veranza Mall, while exhibits of indigenous weaves and on Muslim Filipino culture and history can be found at SM.  

UNDER ONE SKY. This exhibit shows the diverse yet the similar thread among the cultures in the BIMP-EAGA. Photo by Leon Pangilinan Jr/NCCA

UNDER ONE SKY. This exhibit shows the diverse yet the similar thread among the cultures in the BIMP-EAGA.

Photo by Leon Pangilinan Jr/NCCA

SULTAN'S HOUSE. Part of the 'Under One Sky' exhibit, this is a model of the Meranaw torogan, a sultan's ancestral house. Photo by Faith Yangyang/ NCCA

SULTAN'S HOUSE. Part of the 'Under One Sky' exhibit, this is a model of the Meranaw torogan, a sultan's ancestral house.

Photo by Faith Yangyang/ NCCA

INDIGENOUS WEAVES. The Ikat Master Weavers exhibit boasts colorful indigenous textiles, with weaving demonstrations by some cultural masters like this T'boli dreamweaver. Photo by Faith Yangyang/NCCA

INDIGENOUS WEAVES. The Ikat Master Weavers exhibit boasts colorful indigenous textiles, with weaving demonstrations by some cultural masters like this T'boli dreamweaver.

Photo by Faith Yangyang/NCCA

MUSLIM CULTURE. The colorful and intricate art and culture of Muslim Filipinos are highlighted in this exhibit. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

MUSLIM CULTURE. The colorful and intricate art and culture of Muslim Filipinos are highlighted in this exhibit.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

The festival also has interactive activities, like the paper crafts making organized by NCCA. First, the NCCA resident artist demonstrated making paper crafts of different architectural landmarks from the BIMP-EAGA, before participating students began to make their own paper crafts.

PAPER ART. Students make paper craft. On the foreground is a paper craft of the Grand Mosque in Cotabato City. Photo by Leon Pangilinan Jr/NCCA

PAPER ART. Students make paper craft. On the foreground is a paper craft of the Grand Mosque in Cotabato City.

Photo by Leon Pangilinan Jr/NCCA

The festival also has a travel and trade fair in Gaisano Mall where guests can buy souvenirs from stalls representing the different Mindanao regions. Here, mallgoers or those simply interested in Budayaw, can take home indigenous weaves and other local products, and taste specialty food items.

'BUDAYAW-MADE.' There are also products especially made for Budayaw, like these chocolates. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

'BUDAYAW-MADE.' There are also products especially made for Budayaw, like these chocolates.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

LOCALLY MADE. At the Budayaw travel and trade fair, you can buy indigenous weaves, trinkets, and more. Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

LOCALLY MADE. At the Budayaw travel and trade fair, you can buy indigenous weaves, trinkets, and more.

Photo by Rhea Claire Madarang/Rappler

The festival runs until Sunday, September 24. Catch it as it happens via the Budayaw YouTube Livestream.  You can also check out their official Facebook page– Rappler.com 

 

Claire Madarang is a writer, researcher, and documenter whose work and wanderlust takes her to adventures like backpacking for seven weeks and exploring remote islands and bustling cities alike. Follow her adventures, travel tips, and epiphanies at Traveling Light 

 

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