Magayon: Albay’s story to ‘believe in’By Inquirer Southern Luzon, Mar S. Arguelles
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LEGAZPI CITY—While other communities have forgotten or shy away from local legends and lore in their rush for progress, Albay embraced and celebrated them.
Like the “Parade of Giants” held early in April, which gave life to 50 giant colorful papier-mâché figures depicting Bicol’s mythical creatures, the street dancing tilt held here on Sunday was largely inspired by the legend of Mayon Volcano.
For Albay leaders, showcasing these creatures and legends was not incongruent to Albay’s march to urbanization.
Abdon Balde, a multiawarded Bicol writer, said legends were a potent force to showcase the positive aspects of Albay that could attract tourists and entrepreneurs.
“We will continue to create the legends of our time because people never stop the search for stories to believe in,” Balde said.
Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, the powerhouse behind the Magayon festivities, has been encouraging Albay writers, artists, musicians to create stories and events from the legends and folk tales of the province that can be incorporated in the festival.
“If we have personified Mayon in a timeless legend about star-crossed lovers, we could also personify other mountains and rivers and woodlands to create stories that would highlight our own culture,” he said.
Wearing colorful costumes, props and floats depicting the Legend of Daragang Magayon (Beautiful Maiden), over a thousand performers danced their way through the 3-kilometer stretch of Rizal Street from Vel Amor Subdivision to the Peñaranda Park in Albay District here on Sunday.
The street dancing competition focused on the dance of the three mountains: Mount Masaraga in Polangui and Oas towns; Mount Malinao in the towns of Malinao and Tiwi; and Mayon Volcano.
Dancing to Latin beat, ten contingents from the towns of Polangui, Rapu-rapu, Daraga, Tiwi, Bacacay, Manito, Pio Duran, Malilipot, including the cities of Tabaco and Ligao, participated in the street dancing competition, a major attraction in the month-long Magayon Festival, now on its fifth year, held to showcase the province’s cultural traditions.
The contest focused on the various local festival themes of the ten competitors, said Dorothy Colle, chief of the provincial tourism culture and arts office.
Composed of over 100 performers, Polangui town— which presented the “Pulang Angui Festival” as a theme— won the championship trophy and a P200,000 cash prize. The contingent also won the Best in Costume and the Magayon Festival Queen awards.
Tabaco City, which depicted Tabak Festival, was second with a P150,000 cash prize while the third place went to Ligao City, which showcased the city’s Sunflower Festival, to receive P100,000 cash prize.
Malilipot town’s Lubid Festival received the Best Moving Choreography award.
Thousands of city residents and local and foreign tourists lined up on Rizal Street to watch the street dances that started past 1 p.m.
Performers braved the heat as they danced their way to the Peñaranda Park where a huge crowd waited and applauded.