Winning group. Catbalogan’s “Tribu Katbalaugan” won this year’s Aliwan Festival during its first try to join said competition. (Photo courtesy of City Mayors Office)

CATBALOGAN CITY-Showing world-class performance and creativity, the “Tribu Katbalaugan” (Manaragat Festival) of Catbalogan City was declared the grand champion in street dancing competition of this year’s Aliwan Festival held in Manila last April 25. The performance of the Tribu Katbalaugan, a first-timer at the Aliwan Festival, has impressed the judges and the crowd for its dance movement, fast paced choreography, graceful dancers, musicality, props and lighting effects. “This is indeed a milestone in our effort to make a mark at the national level and engraving our city in the tourist map of our country for the world to know,” said Catbalogan Mayor Stephany Uy-Tan after the victory.

“The triumph means a lot to us. I always value the youth sector’s contribution in my governance as I continue to tap them in various undertaking. I also take pride of my committed and passionate support team who painstakingly did a superb job,” she added. The group won cash prize of P1 million and additional P25, 000 for winning third place for best musicality category.

The annual Aliwan Festival, now on its 13th year, gathers champions of local cultural festivals from all over the country to compete against each other in various categories. Tribu Katbalaugan bested Aliwan hall of famer “Lumad Basaknon” representing Sinulog of Cebu City. Lumad Basaknon celebrates this year its 25th year in joining the Sinulog Festival. Catbalogan Manaragat Festival’s storyline revolves around the fishing industry of the city and the bounty of harvest the Maqueda Bay has endowed the people through the years.

Manaragat comes from the root word “dagat” (sea) and “manaragat” refers to the person who makes a living by fishing or a fisherman. Fishing has been the source of income of its many residents and Maqueda bay has provided them with abundant marine life. The core group of the team has 300 dancers including instrumentalists and props men. The dancers are 14-17 years old.  Aside from the championship, the festival also won third place in the Tunog ng Aliwan or Best Musicality.

The competition also saw the Mayaw-Mayaw Festival of Pinabacdao, Samar taking the 3rd place, Sakuting Festival (Tribu Sakuting) of Dolores Abram 4th place and the Meguyaya Festival (Tatribong Upi) of Upi, Maguindanao, fifth place. Mayaw-Mayaw Festival, also its first time to perform at Aliwan, was adjudged the Best Float and bagged P500, 000. After the victory, the team was guest performer of the “Festivals in the North” in Dagupan City held last January 26. Buyogan Festival of Abuyog, Leyte and Lingganay Festival of Alangalang, Leyte, two world-class festivals in Leyte, has won the Aliwan championships for the past years. (VICKY C.ARNAIZ)