DOT-8 Regional Director
Karina Rosa Tiopes

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) supports and helps promote local government units that are creating festivals that showcases their local history and culture.
But before they showcase a festival, this must be carefully studied and researched first to become reflective on their local tradition, culture, history, and way of life, DOT-8 Regional Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said.

“Festivals are not just one big dance competition. It is actually a reflection of our culture, traditions, history, and way of life. So that is why we at the Department of Tourism, promote the development of festivals,” Tiopes said.

“But we also need to be pretty sure that whenever we do festivals we do a little research because we want to be sure that our own festival is reflective of who we are as people, our history, and of course of culture and tradition, and heritage, it is very important,” she added.

The tourism official added that to make sure that each festival is different from the others, it should build its own identity by having its own beat and dance steps that are reflective of what it wanted to convey to its audience.

“This is not just a playground demo but this is really something that has value to us,” Tiopes said adding that festivals are major events that encourage more people to visit a place making the festivity livelier and positively affecting local economy.
“Festival should not only be a display of dances but should be an anchor of culture and heritage and way of life,” Tiopes stressed.

Tiopes also lauded the LGU for doing cultural mapping that can also be used not only for creating a festival but also in creating and implementing programs.

“You can also use this in several other programs that anchors on who we are as people, history, way of life because we should be the first to appreciate ourselves of who we are and the place that we call home,” she said.

During the initial launch of the ‘Kananga Kaanyag Festival’, Mayor Manuel Vicente “Matt” Torres said that their festival was a product of a cultural mapping conducted in partnership with the National Commission of Culture and the Arts.

Torres said that Kananga is the only local government unit in the province that has conducted a cultural mapping assisted by the NCCA.

“The Kananga Kaanyag Festival is a result of an intensive and comprehensive cultural mapping of the municipality allowing us to create a festival that is culturally and historically accurate, showcasing the rich tapestry of our traditions and customs,” he said.

Cultural mapping is mandated under Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 wherein LGUs must need to identify and collect data on their respective local tourism, cultural heritage, traditions, history, customs that are unique to the locality, and other sociocultural practices.

Municipal Tourism Officer April Tanhueco, for her part, said that Kananga Kaanyag Festival features eight dance steps but as of the moment, only four are taught.

The dance steps names include ‘alimyun’ (fragrance) wherein the dancers’ hands move upward in a smelling-like position and lift in a spreading position and include a bouncing footstep of the right foot, the ‘hakot’ (flavor) depicting the carrying of local products placed over the right shoulders, ‘maanyag’ (beauty) consisting of side steps and spreading hand gestures starting from the right to left then both hand extended going from right to left then ending with hand clasped on the left chest, and the ‘abunda’ (bounty) which represents abundance which shows gratitude to the bountiful harvest of the town depicting by a cross step with hand gesture spread from one side to the other.

The dance steps were developed by local choreographers in partnership with the NCCA.
Six festival contingents competed in the street dance and ritual dance presentation held June 11 at Kananga Central School won by Familia Matahom for the elementary category, and Kanangahanong Mattahom for the secondary category. Both winners won P170, 000 cash prize. (ROEL T. AMAZONA)