Coffee and culture: Malaybalay contingent junks war theme in Kaamulan street dancing presentation

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MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/ 20 April) – The entry from Malaybalay City in the Kaamulan 2024 street dancing competition departed from the tribal war theme showcased in previous years and featured instead a tribe’s experience in coffee farming.

The story, which made the city bag the championship in the contest held Saturday, is about Bae Inatlawan Adelina Tarino, chieftain-shaman of the Bukidnon-Daraghuyan tribe in Barangay Dalwangan, and her tribe’s journey in farming coffee marked with both joy and pain.

”There is no war in this storyline. The conflict here is about greed for money and leaving culture for money, which is also from coffee,” Jose Benito Ronolo, researcher and director said in an online exchange.

Malaybalay, capital of Bukidnon province, competed with the entries from the municipalities of Lantapan, Quezon, Baungon, and Impasugong in the street dancing, float, and ground presentation competitions on Saturday, the highlights of the month-long festival.

Ronolo said they veered away from war themes because the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples raised an issue against it in 2020. ”They said it has always been conflict, maybe it could also be different,” he said.

He said the story idea emerged after a meeting with Bae Inatlawan. 

”I saw the idea. Why not feature her story about coffee? It also markets their product,” he added. 

The story tells about the tribe’s journey from planting to harvesting coffee and earning from it.

However, members of the tribe became preoccupied with the crop and stopped participating in the panungdan, an annual thanksgiving ritual for the spirit guardians of their resources. Soon, the displeased spirits brought diseases to the coffee trees, and the tribe stopped reaping economic benefits from the crop.

Bae Inatlawan counseled her people to return to practicing the ritual to restore harmonious relationship with Nature.

MindaNews requested for a brief of the storylines from the four other contingents from organizers. But they imposed an embargo pending the final performance.

Butch Anthony Melendez, Bukidnon Provincial Tourism Officer, said winners in each category will receive P150,000 (champion), P100,000 (1st runner-up), and P75,000 (2nd runner-up). 

The competitions were judged by a panel from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts and the Department of Tourism.

Malaybalay also bagged the championship in the float competition. Baungon was the 1st runner-up while Impasugong was the 2nd runner-up.

Impasugong and Lantapan were the 1st runner-up and 2nd runner-up, respectively in the street dancing contest.

Quezon won the ground competition, edging out Lantapan (1st runner-up) and Malaybalay (2nd runner-up). 

Performers from Bukidnon’s seven tribes also showcased their stories in the non-contest presentations – the Umayamnon from Cabanglasan, Menuvu from Pangantucan and Kibawe, Matigsalug from Kitaotao, Bukidnon from Malaybalay City, Talaandig from Maramag and Talakag, Tigwahanon from San Fernando, and Higaonon from Sumilao. 

Kaamulan 2024, celebrated from March 23 to April 23, focused on the theme “Sustaining Traditions: Nurturing Our Indigenous Legacy.” (BukidnonNews.Net) 

Photo courtesy of Vincent Pa

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