Mga Imbak na Marka: Behia

Surviving Bagatao Festival Beyond Challenges (Part 1)

Things have been taken out of context after the Regatta Bagatao Festival street presentation controversy has become a favorite “talk-of-the-town” topic. I had conversations with the personalities whose names have been dragged in the issue and had cordially sought their clarifications.

As expected involved parties have opposing views of the issues, each claiming to have the most reasonable versions of statements [which include excuses] of how things transpired and gone awry.

Regatta Festival: A Quick Glance

Initially, allow me to give a backgrounder of what Regatta Festival sa Bagatao [its original festival name before it is finally changed this year] is… Established in summer 2008 as a brainchild of PB Realito F. Bose, Behia’s barangay chairman, it was launched on May 2008. The festival culminated on May 24, an important religious and cultural event in the barangay. Beginning 2009, it was moved in time with the celebration of the barangay patronal fiesta in honor of Behia’s patron saint – Saint Rafael. The festivities which usually lasted to three days featured water activities (thus, the name Regatta) and games and contests participated by the locals along with the usual fiesta ceremonies like the benefit dance, coronation rites, civic parades, novenary and maritime processions and holy mass.

As a budding festival which began to draw attention not only locally, several events were added in the festivities come the following years.

The street presentation has become officially part in 2009. It features street performers showcasing radiant and festive costumes highlighting the creativity of Behianos as they pay tribute to the bounty of the sea. Young Behianos dressed in fisherfolks’ attire adorned with colorful native ornaments dancing jovially under the scorching sun have become one of the festival’s major attractions.

Of course there were several other events that made the festival uniquely Behiano… uniquely Bagatao. Among the major events were the annual Daralaganan sa Bagatao (a fun run that first kicked off in 2011), the Purok Olympics (2011) which promotes strong spirit of camaraderie among the Behianos as they engage in various games and contests like Laro ng Lahi and talent contests, the Search for Bb. Regatta (2012), which was renamed Bb. Bagatao this year, and the Turaok. Turaok is a cultural competition primarily aimed on reviving Bicol oral traditions such as tigsik, rawitdawit and cansion. Turaok has become an official part of the festival in 2010 to rekindle Dr. Francisco H. Datar’s effort to give tribute to the grandeur and significance of the local oral traditions.

See the list of events for this year’s Regatta Bagatao Festival by clicking this link.

Festival turned controversial; Getting the two sides of the coin…

While recuperating from severe influenza at the community hospital, one staff asked me to confirm whether it was true that the “mayor has not allowed the Bagatao Festival street performers to participate” in the Pintakasi at the Kasanggayahan Festival in Sorsogon City. It was Saturday, Oct 18, my third day in the hospital, when I first learned the issue. I tried seeking for confirmation from the volunteer staff through text but didn’t receive any reply.

Oct 21, Monday afternoon before going to Sorsogon City to fetch the pageant jurors in Bb. Bagatao, the choreographer [of the street presentation] and I had a short talk on the issue. I’ve learned from him three salient information… “the municipal tourism office secures the entry form” of the Bagatao street performers to “prohibit the same from joining Pintakasi” and that “the mayor did not approve of endorsing the group as the town’s representative” in the Oct 23 event.

The choreographer’s statements were reinforced when the barangay chair delivered an emotional talk before the audience of Bb. Bagatao pageant on Monday evening. The barangay chairman who also heads the Festival Committee of 6th Regatta Bagatao Festival points out that “the disapproval of the mayor of sending Bagatao street performers in Kasanggayahan deprives the latter of their opportunity to showcase their talents and experience the festivities.” Allegedly, he mentions, the incident is politically motivated. His speech draws applause from the audience, mostly Behianos.

After the pageant, I asked the barangay chair these questions:
“Was the mayor informed of our participation in the Pintakasi prior Oct 21?”
“Did you seek for financial backing from the LGU for our Kasanggayahan stint?”
“Were you informed of the prerequisites (such as the need to secure entry forms and endorsement) in joining the Pintakasi?”
“Is there other means to push through our participation in the Pintakasi even without the mayor’s endorsement?”

I got a “yes” and a “no” to the first two questions, respectively. Yes, he has met with the mayor in a meeting and relayed the intention of Bagatao Festival to represent the municipality. He said the mayor okays the proposal. He adds that the Festival Committe sought no financial assistance in our Kasanggayahan stint. All expenses shall be defrayed by the barangay council and the festival committee.

Regarding his knowledge of the requirements in joining Pintakasi, he explained that he has only learned the need to secure an entry form and the lgu chief’s endorsement a few days ago. [We talked on Oct. 21.]

Recalling my previous conversations with him, even during the planning meeting with barangay council in June, he emphasized that “he had a connection with a personnel in the provincial tourism office who INVITED Bagatao Festival to perform in the Pintakasi.” The said contact happened to be an administrative official in one private tertiary school in Sorsogon City. This official and the choreographer are acquaintances and had professional relationship.

I have to intentionally write the word “invited” in all caps because I believe this is where it has all started. The barangay chair assumes with confidence that Bagatao Festival is indeed “invited” to perform. The festival commitee assumes [even without seeing a formal invitation in black and white] that there was really an invitation to perform. This “invitation”, therefore, overshadows the commitee’s initiative to (1) send a communication to the LGU informing the said office of the group’s participation at the Pintakasi and (2) the need to secure relevant document such as the endorsement forms, etc. I have to admit the group committed a lapse in observing protocol here.

Regarding his response to the last question, I have learned (as he mentioned in his speech and) upon questioning that the parish priest called Msgr. Monje, the president of the Kasangayahan Foundation, Inc. and channeled the same issue for possible consideration. Apparently, no positive yield relative to the Bagatao Festival’s participation was made after the call. The street performers remained out of Pintakasi.

On the eve of Oct 23 in time with the Coronation Rites of the reigning beauties in the popularity contest, I had the chance of having an online chat via Facebook with the mayor. Eager to know the real score of the events, I sought his clarification of the incident and got the following statements:

“there was no coordination, no information, no seeking of endorsement nor “pasintabi” sa LGU na may plano”

“what will i ban if there was nothing to ban? the LGU was never never informed that Behia pala will participate. How will we endorse when there was nobody to endorse? how will we permit when nobody was seeking permission?”

Obviously, there are clashing point of views here.

[Blog continued on this link.]

Istorya ni Ka Tubol

Sisay an makalingaw sa orosipong hineras ni Papay Makoy manungod sa maurag na si Ka Tubol?

Ining si Ka Tubol

Nagtutukaw duman sa tampi kan salog

Naghahalat halat siya kun ano an

Medyos niyang masakayan

Tapos nagpasalamat siya paglabay kan bagol

Asin tulos na siya suminakay

Kaiba an bagol,  sinda nagpaanod-anod

Nagduduyan sa mabublay na sulog

Pag-abot niya sa lilikuan

Hinagara siya kan alimango

Ngaya “Ka Tubol pasain kamo?”

“Maduman sa Kagdaragangan.”

In sigidang simbag ni Ka Tubol.

“Maano man kamo duman?”

Sa guiraray si Ka Tubol nagsimbag:


“Ay maray pa ngaya maiba man ako.”

Presenta kang alimangong aruhado

Sabi ni katubol “Di hala”

Di iriba na sinda

Sa salog naglangoy so alimango

Kasunod ni Ka Tubol na sa bagol nakakursamano

Pag-abot naman duman sa kanto na matiko

Hagarahon ni Kasili

Ngaya “Ka Tubol pasain kamo?”

“Maduman sa Kagdaragangan, makiguera”

Simbag ni Ka Tubol saiya.

“Aw maray pa maki-iba man ako”

Sabi kan kasiling presentado.

Di hala… sige iriba na sinda

Pag-abot duman sa dakulaon na harong

Na linabayan ninda

Duman na sinda nagsakga

“Iyo na ini ang gigirahon ta”

Maisog ni Ka Tubol na iprinisenta.

Pagsalta ninda duman

Si Ka Tubol bahala na man siya

Ta apisar na baskog maabilidad man siya

Nagpasalamat ngani siya

Ta bangue sinda nagruhab, laen aldaw

Ta kun aldaw pupurodyuton siya kan langaw.

Ngunyan pag-abot ninda duman sa dakulang harong

An  mga kagharong tururog, warang paka-mangno sa mga bisitang duminatong

Ngaya “Ika Kasili, digdi ka sa puerta mayor

Kan halangkaw na harong…”

“Ika ngaya Alimango

Duman ka harani sa kusina”

Ngunyan si Ka Tubol

Luway-luway na nagligid paitaas

Pagdagos sa kuwarto

Si Ka Tubol, so mga turog pigparariligidan

Primerong pigligidan nya so lalaki, si Juan

So pandok ginibo niyang hurmahan

Sagkod so agom niyang si Maria

Nunca na nakasalba

Pakatapos  pagparaligidan

Ngaya “Juan mabataon ka!”

Osip ni Maria sa napul-awang katubay

“Mabataon ka man nganing tunay.”

Supon ni Juan kay Maria.

So mga aque na tulo dae nagmarangno

Pangyari sa  saindang magurang

Dae sindang pagkabisto…

Ngaya “hanapa so posporo”

Manda ni Juan

Posporong nahurabot dae na nanggad naduktan

Ta ining si Ka Tubol ang sabritan

Kan saiyang daplos pigparalahidan

Ngaya “pasiring ka duman sa kusina”

Si Maria naman ang nagtaram

Sa agom na napurawot sa karupitan

Pagduman sa kusina

Tanganing dukalwong makua

Dae pa nakaantos

Sa hagdan pa sana

Ining si Alimango nagbuwelo nin todo

Samingkil ni Juan

Kinigat ki puwersado

Sa ngarat kan Juan

Tulos siyang duminalagan

Sa puerta mayor paluwas siyang nagduman

Alagad can siya palusad na

Gaposon can Kasiling nakabantay

Burubodan an saiyang tabay

Magbalintok, matuwal…

Payo sa dalipay nakabudal

Tulos man sana,

Binawian nin buhay…

An had-it na Maria

Sa kuwarto nangapudan

“Haen ka na  ngaya Juan?”

Ni gios o agoro dae siyang namatean

In sigida, magpasiring si Maria sa kusina

Ta dukalwong dae nakukua

Sa taluhong naghanap siya que baga

Kalayo napápá na

Ta ining si Ka Tubol dae pa nahahaloy

Sa taluhong nagdupa-dupa

Daplos niyang mamara

Sa baga nagpaluya

Ta si Juan dae naab’tan

Sa puerta mayor siya napaduman

Naghahalat na kasili tulos siyang binurubodan

Kaherak na Maria

Tulos na nagbalintok

Sa mapanas na gapo ngudoy niya napahadok

Ata ngani dae pa naaawat,

Kalag niyang bagoy

Tulos man na luminuwas

So tulong aque na namurawmurawan

Duman sa kuwarto nagpakatago

Pagkatapos maisihan kamugtakan can pobreng magurang

Duman sa laog

Sinda sana ang natada

Pagkatapos can encuentro

Sa salog dagos na nagduman

Si Kasili kaiba si Alimango

Si Ka Tubol binayaan na

“Bahala ka na..” ngaya “dyan!”

Natapos so apos

Pagado ang estorya.


Salamat kay Papay Makoy sa orosipon na ini… Hanggang sa guiraray tang pagurulay!!!