2018 BABAYLAN FESTIVAL SCHEDULE OF ACTIVITIES
Babaylan Festival is Bago City’s major festival held annually every February. Just like other festivals in the country, it is characterized by a street dance and arena dance competitions, Agro Fair, beauty pageant (Diwata sang Bago) and much more.
In an imaginative and creative Filipino culture and traditions, the Babaylan is a person highly regarded in the community for his/her wisdom and even sought after for guidance. In the olden times, the Babaylan is believed to have access to the spiritual realm and is gifted with healing to both spiritual and physical.
Interestingly, the function of the Babaylan is even extended to make stability to the social structure in the community as this person is believed to have a good knowledge about natures phenomenon.
The Babaylan Festival of Bago City
The interesting nature of Babaylan is the inspiration of the festival in Bago City which was created to highlight this unique Filipino heritage which can be traced back to the pre-Spanish period.
The festival which was first conceptualized in 1997 was created to also highlight the place’s culture, rediscover indigenous music of the Bagonhon (people of Bago), it’s rich history and literature, rituals and other artistic gifts of its people such as dances.
The Mount Kanla-on (Canlaon) is also one of the major inspirations considered in the conceptualizing the festival. The mystical mountain is considered by the Babaylans and other faith healers as a source of power. Most Babaylans and faith healers would climb Mount Kanla-on every Holy week to collect herbs, renew their vows and to perform some rituals. This practice is even observed even up to these days.
Idolatrous as it may seem, but it is embedded in the Filipino culture – the belief for supernaturals.
In 1998, the first Babaylan Dance Drama Competition began and became one of the most anticipated events in the City of Bago. It is celebrated along the celebration of the Charter Anniversary of the city which falls every 19th of February.
The festival is being participated by various Barangays of the city. The Dance drama which started usually with a dance parade and culminates with an arena presentation is usually based on a storyline and in the “Binalaybay” (a local narrative) being narrated by the Babaylan of each contingent.
2018 Schedule of Activities, Babaylan Festival
How to Get to Bago City
Bago City is just 30 minutes ride from Bacolod City. From Bacolod City, guests may take any public utility vehicle going to the Southern Negros, as it will surely pass by Bago City. Of course, the most convenient way to get there is by private vehicle or using a taxi.
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