Kaamulan Festival

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Kaamulan street dancing.

Kaamulan Festival is an annual festival in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon held every February, which showcases dances, chants, ancient rituals, and indigenous sports performed by tribal folks who gather with town dwellers to celebrate unity. It is considered as one of the remaining indigenous festivals in the Philippines because it commemorates the deep tradition and rituals of ethnic groups that has long inhabited Bukidnon.


The Festival

Kaamulan is a month-long celebration that starts in the second half of February and ends in the first half of March. It differs from other festivals in its ethnic roots and observance. People do not dress as “natives” to attract tourists, instead, several tribal folks representing the hill tribes, join the townspeople. They are the Matigsalug, Ilianon, Pulangihon, Umayamnon, Talaandig, Tigwa Manobo, Western Bukidnon Manobo, and Higaunon. They wear intricately woven clothes studded with trinkets, anklets, earrings, necklaces, headdresses, and amulets. [1]

The authentic rituals perforemd at the Kaamulan festival include pangampo or general worship; tagulambong ho datu or ritual for ascendancy to the position of Chieftain; panumanod or spiriting ceremony; panlisig or rite to drive away evil spirits; and pamalas or sin atonement ritual. The festival also features a native horsefight called kagsaba ho kabayo. Meanwhile, chants of the Bukidnon epic olaging, recitations of the lyric poetry limbay, singing of ballads known as idangdang, bayok-bayok or verses, antoka or riddles, nanangon or folktales, and a genealogy tracing debate called dasang are performed in the evenings. [2]


The festival was said to have been first held on 25 to 27 November 1977 at the Pines View Park in Malaybalay City and was eventually held every September. It was eventually moved to March, the month marking the province's founding anniversary in 1917. [3]

Kaamulan is from the Binukid word amul that translates into “social gathering.” This gathering for ethnic Bukidnon people may mean a datuship ritual, a wedding ceremony, a harvest thanksgiving, or a peace pact.

The Kaamulan Festival is said to have originally began on 15 May 1974, which was the day of fiesta in honor of San Isidro Labrador. Then town mayor Edilberto Mamawag invited some Bukidnon tribespeople to join the townspeople's celebration, where they danced to enliven the fiesta-goers. News of this event made its way to a national newspaper through Mamawag's friend who was a Manila reporter. On 16 September 1977, the Regional Development Council adopted Kaamulan as northern Mindanao's regional festival.


Several modern activities have been assimilated into the ethnic festivity, such as a street-dancing competition, a beauty pageant called Laga Ta Bukidnon, an ethnic dance clinic, a garden show, a food fest, a bazaar, a motocross, a basketball tournament, amateur boxing matches, and concerts.

In 2007, the province started opening the event to foreigners, particularly ambassadors from the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Germany, France, United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Korea, with the aim to elevate the indigenous festival into the international arena. [4]


  1. ^ "Kaamulan Festival", Bukidnon.gov (accessed 3 February 2010).
  2. ^ "Bukidnon heritage kept alive, Dr. Antonio Montalvan II", inq7.net (accessed through seasite.niu.edu on 3 February 2010).
  3. ^ "Kaamulan Festival", virtualtourist.com 14 April 2004.
  4. ^ "Kaamulan festival 2007 opens in Bukidnon" (accessed through istambay.wordpress.com 3 February 2010).



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