Eco-tourism panoramic show

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By Fe San Juan Hidalgo

Citizen Fe

Monday, August 11, 2014


THE latest innovation and strategy of the tourism as we know it is the relatively new term, eco- tourism. It is tourism which is also a tool for sustainable development to support the new approach for management, protection, and conservation of the country's environment, natural resources, its inhabitants which includes the IP's, and the cultural heritage.

The key cultural resources are: festival events (this is the reason why I chose the Kadayawan as the subject of my column today), villages in their natural settings with the local folks, museums and cultural repositories, handicrafts from local raw materials showing the native arts and ingenuity, and the cuisine or local foods. The next important components are the following sectors, which are the government, the people from the indigenous groups and the contemporary citizens, and the tourists, which include the locals and the foreigners. This is the needed information that will help you in witnessing the one week shows of the Kadayawan Festival.

The theme of the Festival is flourishing the people's well- being. The rootword, Madayaw, is a friendly greeting. Mabuhay in Tagalog is its equivalent. The festival starts with the traditional Holy Mass held at the San Pedro Cathedral. The celebration opening is at 8:30 pm at Rizal Park. Aug.13 to 14 the Dance, Tunog, the lumadnong dula and tribal sports will be shown at the People's Park. Sayaw Mindanao is usually presented by groups of students from the different schools in the city. There may be guest performers from other places.

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The dances are replete with color, pageantry, and artistry. Costumes, props, dance steps and excellent choreography are eye- openers each one trying to outdo the other presentations with the hope of winning a prize. The dances usually portray a tradition or a locality's famous legends or myths. The movable background scenario for each number is done with precision and measured movements of the persons carrying the props amaze me. The props carried by the dancers producing undulating movements are a sight to behold.

The Tunog which provides the music for each number is the characteristic sounds of gong music, the kulintang, the cymbals played with precision are melodic with percussion effects. This is one noise that is not boisterous; it will just get the people tapping their feet or hands swayed by the music.

The lumadnong dula and the tribal sports are also held at the People's Park. I wish the emcee in the programs will give the names and interpretations in English so that foreigners can understand. The dula is usually interpretations of myths or legends or the IP's way of life. The sports are unique in showing man to man fights with bare hands or with props like swords or sticks. All in all they are a delight to see especially for the male spectators.

The River Festival at the Bankerohan River is something new. This is held on the 15th day. A huge vessel is decorated lavishly and a central altar is the main feature here. There is music and merriment. Other smaller boats decorated, too, may take part in the fluvial parade. People line the shores to watch the spectacle.

On the 16th day, the indak indak and indigay sa tugtog musical shows are held at the Rizal Park. The much awaited part of the festivities is the Pamulak - Floral and Fruit Float Parade. Not to forget is the traditional competition for the choice of Mutya ng Kadayawan participated on by the selected beauties and brains from each region of the city. The crowned winners are usually in the floats in the parade. The floats sponsored by commercial establishments or associations are again sights to behold. Intricate artistry, inspiring themes, live models in action, scenery, lighting, the more unique and unusual attention getting artistry can leave you gawking. Winners are proclaimed at the culminating activity and monetary prizes are awarded.

The closing ceremonies and pasasalamat are held at 6 p.m. on the 17th. I hope my annotations did justice to the annual Kadayawan Festival of our city. You just had a panoramic view of the eco- tourism destinations. Although the ideal is to see these spectacles as is where is, this time it was brought to you with this week long presentations prepared by the untiring committees tasked with organizing this extravaganza.

As an environmentalist, I have spent my lifetime with the advocacy of protecting our environment, its flora and fauna, its people with their customs and traditions, and our natural patrimony and heritage. I was with the DOT (Dept. of Tourism) as guest lecturer in seminars with future tour guides. I lived in Baguio for 15 years and here I had my stint as Ecology, botany, zoology, and earth science professor. I exposed my students through numerous field trips to the whole of Baguio's sights. Here, I experienced my first heart break when I saw how modern engineers destroyed the natural beauty of Mines View Park.

Way back 1960, I used to bring my guests to this place. To reach the steep hill we passed through rough stony stairs, quite long. The steps were hewn right on the slopes with the bare hands of the natives. The protective walls to keep spectators safe from falling into the deep ravines were sturdy planks of stems from huge trees in the forest, installed by the natives also. The big planks served as posts. The rock and soil were dug deep for the posts are placed for sturdy and sure anchorage. Smaller slender planks were nailed to the posts. The stairs and the protective walls were so picturesque and rustic for any visitor or tourists.

We enjoyed the scenery of mines below as far as our eyes could see. There were native kids down below asking us for alms. We had fun throwing the coins and the kids running to catch the coin; then shouting a thank you for our generosity. The huge grounds around the resort were stores manned by men and women in their native costumes. Before I left Baguio in 1975, I saw this in Mines View Park. The modern engineers removed all the rustic scenery, the stairs were now polished cemented steps; the walls were replaced by huge metallic materials which were dead cold when I touched them. The stores nearby are loaded with westernized merchandize and fast food restos. The natives were gone. I hope all the rustic native scenarios in our tourist spots will not suffer the same fate as my Mines View Park.

For comments Text Cp no.09202112534.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 12, 2014.

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