GENERAL SANTOS CITY - First Budayaw Festival celebrates harmony in diversity with the theme "Taking Pride in the creative diversity of the BIMP-Eaga region".
The name "Budayaw" is derived from the Malay word "budaya" meaning culture and the Filipino word "dayaw" meaning celebration.
The event also commemorates the 50th founding anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
The Brunei Darussalam-Indonesia-Malaysia-the Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-Eaga) is a sub-regional economic cooperation designed to spur economic development in the lagging sub-economies of member countries.
Cultural masters and artists from the BIMP-Eaga converged in the festival staged in General Santos City malls September 20 to 24, showcasing the culture and the arts as well as celebrating the creative diversity of the region.
There were also Budayaw community outreach in Maitum, Malungon and Alabel, Sarangani Province.
There are five strategic pillars that BIMP-Eaga focuses with the end goal of narrowing the development gaps among member countries which are: connectivity which works with the improvements on technology and transport connectivity; food basket that optimize the potential products to export; environment that aims to protect and manage the natural resources and biodiversity; tourism that develops products and tourism-related infrastructure to market BIMP-Eaga tourism destinations; and socio-cultural and education which opens the mind of the people about the member countries' traditions.
On the third day of the Budayaw Festival, there was a colloquium held at KCC Convention Hall.
"In 2016, the socio-cultural development working group agreed to have a colloquium on the three things or topics which are: the history of the islands of the Eaga Region and the cultural exchanges, second is how do we safeguard our heritage here in the Eaga Region, and third is what could be the policies and possible exchanges to continue the relationship," Adel Suemith of the Philippines National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), head of the BIMP-Eaga socio-cultural pillar.
The colloquium was mainly participated in by teachers and students from various schools.
"In fact, we asked the teachers and students to attend the Colloquium so that they would begin to be conscious about the importance of putting this inputs here, the history of the Eaga, our relationships with them, and our exchanges with them," Suemith said. "In the classroom, they can also use what they have learned so they can build awareness and appreciation of our identity here in the region."
The Budayaw Festival was by far successful through partnerships with the Department of Tourism, NCCA, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Mindanao Development Authority, LGU Sarangani, LGU General Santos City and Mindanao State University.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 30, 2017.
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