Negros Occidental

Sipalay’s ‘barungoy’: From fish to annual kite festival delight in Negros Occidental

Reymund Titong

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Sipalay’s ‘barungoy’: From fish to annual kite festival delight in Negros Occidental

KITE PARADE. Participants showcase their colorful kites during the 10th Burangoy Tourism Kite Festival on March 23, 2024, in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.

Sipalay Tourism Office

Sipalay has been recognized as the 'Kite Tourism Capital of the Philippines,' with its festival hailed as the largest and longest kite-flying event in Negros Occidental

NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – The barungoy, also known as the flying fish, is highly sought after by fishermen in some parts of the country because it is easy to catch. However, in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental, its distinctive kite-like features have led to the birth of a kite festival, which has become one of the major attractions of the city.

The 10th Burangoy Tourism Kite Festival featured various art workshops, culminating in a kite competition on Saturday, March 23, at Poblacion Beach in Sipalay.

To avoid confusion, barungoy refers to the fish while burangoy refers to the kite festival. Jerick Lacson, Sipalay City’s tourism officer, explained to Rappler on Monday, March 25, that burangoy is a portmanteau of burador, a Hiligaynon word for kite, and barungoy (flying fish).

Lacson said the abundance of barungoy, which resembles a kite, and the residents’ tradition of flying kites inspired the city to combine culture and nature’s riches into a celebration, starting in 2012.

The city was recognized as the “Kite Tourism Capital of the Philippines” by the Kite Association of the Philippines (KAP) in 2022, and the kite festival has been regarded as the largest and longest kite-flying event in the province of Negros Occidental, Lacson said.

“The kite-making tradition has always been part of Filipino culture, not only in Sipalay but also in other places in the country. We have participants who are senior citizens, and they have been enjoying kite making and kite flying since their childhood years,” he said.

Lacson added that “the livelihood component came into life because of the kite festival, where we have formed a local group of kite enthusiasts who are also making kites to be sold during events as souvenirs.”

Sipalay was once home to the largest copper mine in Southeast Asia and was considered a mining community in the 1950s. The city began to shift its economy to tourism as its primary source of income in the year 2000.

Summer, Accessories, Bag
KITE FLYING. Nino Joseph Rosales flies his kite at Poblacion Beach in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental. Sipalay Tourism Office

Edgar Santeniaman, the president of Sipalay’s kite makers’ group, said the annual festival is an opportunity for local kite craftsmen to showcase their work to visitors and earn income at the same time.

Santeniaman said he has been making kites since he was young, a skill passed down by his grandfather, who was also a native of the southern Negros city.

“Sang una, ang pag-himo sang burador, hampang-hampang lang na, asta nga na-andan na sang mga tawo nga mag-ubra nga yara sa kilid sang baybay,” he said.

(Making kites was once just a leisure activity until it became a tradition for the people living near the city’s seashore.)

The Sipalay City Agriculture Office said the most prevalent fish in the city is barungoy, with an annual catch volume of 159,910 kilograms. This significantly surpasses the catch volume of bansi, another type of flying fish, which stands at 2,250.90 kilograms annually, and dorado (Dolphin fish) with an annual catch volume of 1,491.70 kilograms.


Lacson said the annual event has served as a symbol of inclusivity and community involvement since its inception, attracting participants of all backgrounds.

“With the festivity, people regardless of age, gender, or preference, can fly a kite. It is also a perfect time for families to convene and enjoy each other’s company. By this, we can help preserve the tradition of kite making,” he said.

The festival also aims to attract economic growth by drawing tourists, which, in turn, would generate revenue for businesses, supporting local kite and souvenir makers, among others.

For Lacson, the flying fish symbolizes hope for a city to soar higher and fly while being held humbly on the ground.

“Just like a flying fish, modest in size yet remarkably capable, its presence can uplift and sustain others. Just as the flying fish provides sustenance to those who depend on it, so too can our contributions nourish and support those around us,” he said.


Before the kite competition proper, various kite art workshops were conducted at three different primary educational institutions in the city, including Cambogui-ot Elementary School in Barangay Camindangan, Nabulao Elementary School in Nabulao village, and Canturay Elementary School in Barangay Canturay.

Lacson said that the children were trained to create their kites using their creativity, fostering an appreciation for kite flying as both a cultural and leisure activity.

The competition this year attracted 71 participants, according to Lacson. Of these, 32 joined the flat kites category, nine participated in the figure kites category, 20 participated in the 3D geometric kites category, and 10 joined the barungoy/flying fish kite category.

The winners of the kite-flying competition were Jonathan Angre for the barungoy/flying fish category, Rowygin Adraneda in the 3D geometric kites category, Joemar Dagle in the figure kite category, and Niño Joseph Rosales in the flat kite category. In the special prizes category,

Rowygin Adraneda won for the longest kite, Jonathan Angre won for the most unique kite, and Niño Joseph Rosales took home the trophy for the biggest kite.

Lacson estimated that the total number of spectators present during the festival was 2,000 individuals, believed to be the largest since the inception of the annual gathering. –

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