As they say, “Wag maging dayuhan sa sariling bayan.”
While I have been working in the tourism industry practically all my working life and while I have been living in Socsargen for the last 8 years, I have not fully explored the region. So I decided earlier this year to seek out places and festivals I have not been to before.
So over the course of T’nalak Festival 2012’s pre-festival promotions, I decided that I will try to go see the festival this time.
So here’s my own discoveries about the T’nalak Festival.
1. ABUNDANCE. South Cotabato is blessed to be abundant with mostly favorable things: fruits, vegetables, falls, fields stretching out to the horizon and more. What’s more, the abundance comes very affordable and easily accessible to South Cotabatenos and even to tourists.
During the festival, I noticed the abundance of fresh food being sold and, yes, displayed.
2. SOUTH COTABATENOS. One thing I noticed while walking down Alunan Avenue is the multitude of locals, tourists, photographers, sellers, policemen ensuring security and other supporters out in the street even on an early hour of the day. The locals support for the festival is obvious and indeed, encouraging.
3. COLOR. Festivals in the Philippines feature a myriad of colors as expected, of course. However, in South Cotabato, aside from the splash of colors, there is the special feature on an earth color not used in festivals because it si usually perceived as neutral or drab.
That is the color BROWN.
And it is present in a lot of festival activities and accessories: the T’nalak fabric and agriculture. Brown is one of the colors used in the T’nalak fabric amongst black, red and white.
4. HALAMANAN. As I walked down Alunan Avenue in the morning of July 18, one the activities that caught my attention was the crowd that kept on into an alley beside Protech Center.
It turns out to be a Halamanan exhibit, a beautiful display of plants and landscaping. I cannot begin to describe how wonderful the displays were and how many people wanted to see them! It was crazy-crowded!
I would have loved to have seen all the booths but the throng of people didn’t allow me to pursue all of them. This is one of the few stalls I got to see.
5. ORNAMENTAL FISH DISPLAY. Just at the opening of the Halamanan exhibit is the display with all these cute ornamental fishes for sale.
It’s one of the great varieties of the T’nalak Festival. They have plants, food and they have animals as well not just to be seen and admired at but something you can have for yourself if you have the money, of course. I know a lot of people who would love to buy fishes for their homes or offices. There is surely something for everybody here.
6. JOB FAIR. For people to be able the city’s festivities, they have to have the money to go about and hopefully buy or pay for something. People still need jobs and this surely is a great venue for people to search for one.
7. BAHAY KUBO COMPETITION. This part of the festival was a favorite of mine. One, I can only imagine all the work that went into putting together the native huts and the food displays. It was definitely admirable. What is even more admirable is how South Cotabatenos gave their support by going out and visiting the Bahay Kubo display, taking their pictures taken and, for some of them, buying produce from each hut which actually represents a town in South Cotabato.
You’d think that Bahay Kubos would look the same. But no, Filipinos’ creativity is boundless. The design and the attention to how it pays tribute to their town is obvious in each hut.
This is the town of Tupi’s Bahay Kubo.
8. DAYON SA SOUTH COTABATO. This has been a regular event of the T’nalak Festival and rightly so because of its wonderful aim of bringing back balkbayans to their hometown. This year’s dinner was held at the South Cotabato gym and with balladeer, Jed Madela, to serenade guests.
9. STREETDANCING! What festival is without a streetdancing competition? Well, not in South Cotabato. Besides, we here in SocSKSargen are blessed with four- or six-lane streets, spacious gymnasiums and parking lots that give us the space for such competitions. Streetdancing competitions have become the measure of a festival. The more festive, colorful and gay a streetdancing cometition is, the better the festival.
10. MUTYA NG SOUTH COTABATO. There are beautiful women aplenty in this region. So I personally believe a beauty contest in each festival is just apt. Besides, the beauty of a town or any location is not just measured by its scenery, tourist spots nor landmarks but all the more so by its people.
11. FUN RUN! Okay this is one activity that has suddenly sprouted in the region. It’s for a lot of reasons. Health, fitness, weight loss- people are just seeking out ways to balance a stressful life.
In recent activities, fun runs have become a part of activities. T’nalak Festival’s run this time is made more special (and more difficult!) by a marathon from Gensan to Koronadal! That is a long almost-60 kilometer long run! I heard that only a couple of people finished it including my fellow blogger, Rosilie Lim. Congratulations to them. It sure is a feat to finish such a marathon.
12. VICE GANDA CONCERT. While I did not see this myself, I heard it was a blast! Festivals are mainly for the people. What better way to get people engaged by giving them something they’d really enjoy being in. Vice Ganda is adored by a lot of Filipinos so I am sure South Cotabatenos felt good having him in the city.
13. A HAPPY MIX. What I have noticed in the lineup of activities for T’nalak Festival is the great combination of events that matter for agriculture, livelihood, for the people and for entertainment. While trying to be entertaining, the organizers made sure that people got “something” out of the festival: a job, livelihood, new friends, learning. I hope that it becomes a mantra for the next festivals.
14. WELL, IT’S ONLY AN HOUR FROM GENSAN! T’nalak Festival is convenient, accessible and all the adjectives synonymous to that. It’s good to know there’s a happy festival just at an hour’s travel away. I think that we, neighbors, should support each other. We are, anyway, our own tourists and should be our city’s own supporters. Surely, we can do that for our neighbors.
15. BETTER SUN SIGNAL! I am a Sun subscriber myself and has been using it for some year now. I know the signal is a lot better and wider. Sun Cellular’s unlimited call and text features in most plans is truly convenient for business people like me.
The next festival is yet another year away. If you are in the region, do come and visit T’nalak Festival.
“This is my submission for the T’nalak Festival 2012 Blog Writing Contest, which is made possible with the support of sponsors such as Hon. Governor Arthur Y. Pingoy, Jr and the province of South Cotabato, Sun Cellular – get two days of unlimited text to all networks for only ₱15 with SUN TEXTALL15, Dole Philippines, Representative Teddy Casiño & Bayan Muna Party-List, KCC Malls, SouthCotabato.Org and South Cotabato News.”
Pictures from this post are properties the author.