The Binirayan Festival, celebrated in the province of Antique every end of April, is a month-long colorful commemoration of the landing of the ten Bornean datus in Malandog, Hamtic, Antique in the mid-thirteenth century. Unlike other Visayan festivals that honor and venerate Señor Sto. Niño, the Binirayan remembers the Malay roots of the Antiqueños.
Binirayan, which means “where they landed”, reenacts the Maragtas Legend that brought the ten datus to Sirwagan Creek in San Joaquin to escape the tyrannical rule of Datu Makatunaw in Borneo. According to the legend, the datus bought the island of Panay from Marikudo, the chief of the Aetas, with a golden salakot. Together with their wives, they populated the entire Visayan region and established a confederation of barangays which they called Madya-as, under the rule of Datu Sumakwel.
In the 1970s, the localities of Antique decided to stage an event when they could get together as people of the island – tracing their noble roots and looking back to the achievements of their ancestors. Thus, the first Binirayan Festival was held from 30 April to 1 May 1974, as advocated by Evelio B. Javier, then governor of the province. Javier died in 1986, but the annual celebration of this event has continued.
The Binirayan Festival is celebrated in a colorful manner in Antique. It composed of a series of theatrical street plays in local language and the actors and actresses in full Malayan costume. The presentation commenced at the exact location where the ten datus originally anchored. The event has several features as well, which includes the Biray (flotilla of vibrant sailboats similar to those that was “used” by the Bornean datus), an exuberant parade, the Bugal kan Antique Awards, Lin-ay kang Antique and Pasundayag among many others. This festival also showcases the local finery and the ingenious crafts of its people, thus, makes way in promoting the region's tourism.
In 2009, the festival opened with a ritual at the Malandog Historical Marker where Iloilo City mayor Jerry Treñas and Malandog barangay captain Avelino Macaliñas presented a husay (comb), vice governor Rhodora Cadiao and Hamtic mayor Julius Pacificador offered paray (rice), and governor Salvacion Perez and provincial administrator Bernie Tubianosa presented coins.
Lin-ay kang Antique
Lin-ay kang Antique (LKA) was initially known as Miss Antique in 1974. It was later named Miss Binirayan, the festival's search for Antique's Ambassadress of Goodwill who, during her reign, shall serve the province by participating in projects and programs organized by the Binirayan Foundation and other government agencies. The pageant consists of personality and talent presentations, interviews, and other activities arranged by the committee. The LKA final presentation and coronation are usually held on the last Saturday of April.
The following are the Lin-ay kang Antique titleholders:
- 1974 Madelyn Tirol (Aniniy)
- 1975 Mercy Joy Casumpang (San Jose)
- 1976 Mylene Miciano (Tibiao)
- 1977 Darlene Joy Tan (San Jose)
- 1978 Asuncion Panaguiton (San Jose)
- 1979 Genebeth Sta. Romana (Bugasong)
- 1981 Rose Fia Gonzales (Pandan)
- 1982 Mary Jane Jereza (Tibiao)
- 1983 May Caroline Yap (San Jose)
- 1988 Ma. Cecilia Nietes (San Jose)
- 1989 Maricar Imperial (San Jose)
- 1990 Nelly Secondes (Aniniy)
- 1991 Jane Teñosa (Hamtic)
- 1992 Melody Paculaba (Aniniy)
- 1993 Rosalyn Nufable (San Remigio)
- 1994 Diana Rose Grasparil (Sibalom)
- 1996 Jasmin Pediangco (Bugasong)
- 1997 Carol Josette Cardos (Tibiao)
- 1998 Catherine Frangue (Caluya)
- 1999 Quennie Bandoja (Tibiao)
- 2000 Sherylyn Harrison (Sebaste)
- 2001 Sheryl Ebon (Libertad)
- 2003 Krishna Freya Constantino (Tibiao)
- 2004 Klarissa Grace Nebit (San Jose)
- 2005 Rubie Rizza Estaris (San Jose)
- 2006 Myrianne Jade Bagaforo (Pandan)
- 2007 Michelle Ann Acuña (Belison)
- 2008 Emmerie Dale Mecenas Cunanan (Pandan)
- 2009 Karen Jane Mejia (Bugasong)
- 2010 Maxinne Marie Belo Sentina (Department of Education & Antique National School Community)
- Binirayan Festival kicks-off Kiniray-a News (accessed 17 March 2010)
- Lin-ay Kang Antique Binirayan Foundation (accessed 17 March 2010)