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IBALONG FESTIVAL

Bicol epic heroes alive via art exhibit, parade

05:18 AM August 26, 2019
Bicol epic heroes alive via art exhibit, parade

EPIC DANCE Legazpi City in Albay province has been staging the Ibalong Festival, a celebration dedicated to the local epic, to remind generations of Bicolanos about their culture and traditions. On Saturday, students in colorful costumes joined the street dancing competition, one of the festival’s highlights. —MARK ALVIC ESPLANA

LEGAZPI CITY, Albay, Philippines — The heroes of Ibalong came to life in an augmented reality (AR) exhibit, and street parades of colorful costumes and masks during last week’s celebration of the festival devoted to the Bicol epic.

The 28th year of Ibalong Festival featured the story of the three heroes Baltog, Bantong and Handyong who fought against monsters and villains that ravaged the natural resources of Ibalon, the old name of Bicol region.

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Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said the festival had been one of the best ways to showcase the culture and traditions of Albay’s capital city.

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Among the highlights was the two-day AR exhibit on the life of Baltog at a mall here which included a modern version of Ibalong and an AR “sculpture art.” The exhibit was staged on Aug. 17 to 18 by a group of Bicol artists called Studio Down South.

Ismael Jerusalem, 23, cofounder of Studio Down South, said his group wanted to combine technology with art to educate young Bicolanos.

“With AR, there’s an interaction between the mobile application user and the artwork. AR facilitates learning and artwork appreciation,” he said.

Guests used a downloadable Ibalong AR application to view the artworks.

Hazel Marie Bien, the team’s poet, wrote a modern version of the Ibalong epic. “I made it more understandable … to appeal to a modern audience,” she said.

Heroes, monsters

At the beginning of the festival, 22 giant masks and floats depicting the characters of the Bicol epic were featured in a parade from Saint Vincent village to Legazpi Boulevard.

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Bicol epic heroes alive via art exhibit, parade

MONSTERS AND MEN Parade participants wearing masks depicting monsters and villains of the Ibalong epic tease spectators. —MARK ALVIC ESPLANA

Museo de Legazpi curator Darlito Perez Jr. said the masks were made by Bicol artists from local organic materials like pili shells, coconut husks and abaca fiber.

A street dancing competition was staged on Saturday with 10 contingents from different Bicol towns performing ritual dances along the 5-kilometer parade route from Peñaranda Park to the city’s grand terminal.

The Tribu Legasci of Legazpi City Science High School won the grand prize of P500,000. —REPORTS FROM REY ANTHONY OSTRIA AND MA. APRIL MIER-MANJARES

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TAGS: augmented reality exhibit, Bicol epic heroes, Ibalong Festival, Noel Rosal
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