Kagay-an goes folkloric

The colorful Barangay Camaman-an is the champion for this event.

These two qualities best describe an ideal Philippine festival. The country, which is known for its fascinating history and culture, is also famous for its many colorful and well-adorned festivals that commemorate significant events and traditions within a particular locality.

For one, the Kagay-an Festival showcases the cultural traditions and customs of Cagayan de Oro City. A festivity that is held every August in honor of St. Augustine, the city’s patron saint, it covers the rich and diverse civilization that the Kagay-anons has possessed through the years.

One of the many highlights of this celebration is the Kagay-an Folkloric Dance Competition, a street-dancing and dance showdown contest that features jovial presentations from various groups. This year, the event organizers, headed by Promote CDO Foundation, Inc., made it open to all barangays (village), cultural communities, government units, schools, and other civic organizations of Cagayan de Oro City. Each participating group has to artistically interpret a legend or epic right from the grassroots. This has been proposed for the sake of intensifying the identity in each cluster, while further promoting harmony and solidarity among the Kagay-anons.

Insights from the event

From what used to be called a street-dancing competition, the change of the event’s name to a folkloric contest is an attempt to be more purposive this time, and not just settle for what it is used to be merely for pure entertainment. Indeed, the organizers have somewhat achieved this goal in raising its level of aesthetic and cultural appreciation.

From the competition, it is noteworthy that each barangay in the city has its own unique origin, but still can manage to be one. It is also remarkable that most of those who joined in the competition are barangays found in the coastal areas of the city. It is not surprising to see water elements among the presentations of the contestants.

However, it seems doubtful that the people who were there, lining up along the sidewalks of Velez Street, got the message behind each contingent’s presentation, despite being filled with awe and admiration throughout the course of the dance competition. To come up with an informed dance is vital for the message to be conveyed effectively. Therefore, it is essential to employ dance choreographers who are well-abreast in the cultural context of the celebration.

Another notable characteristic is the lack of participation of the civic organizations and government units in the event. Despite the large sum of prize money at stake for the winning groups, out of the 80 barangays in the city, only 5 joined the competition. Is it a showcase of the apathy of the Kagay-anons?A credible source mentioned that due to a lack of budget, other barangays opted not to join in the said contest. Ironically, there is a budget for culture and arts for each barangay. It is interesting to look into how each of the barangay spent the said fund.

In spite of the varied opinions by both locals and tourists regarding this Kagay-an Folkloric Dance Competition, and the festival as a whole, what matters most is that Cagayan de Oro City, the City of Golden Friendships, still prominently depicts a distinct mark within the country.

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Folklore Matrix Dance

A synchronized step among dancers from Barangay Macabalan.

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A Kagay-anon Smile

A participant, wearing a Manobo-inspired costume, smiles for the camera.

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Barangay Camaman-an

The grand winner used baskets as their props.

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