NINE champion groups from the north battle it out for the cultural street dancing competition in the 18th Matagoan Festival in Tabuk City, Kalinga.

Groups from Balamban, Santiago City; Ammungan from Aritao of Nueva Vizcaya; Manggo Bamboo, San Carlos City; Matagoan of the Kalinga National High School; the Western Wonders from Dupag; the Tam-awan New Tanglag all from Tabuk City; Balatong San Mateo group from Isabela and the Pinikpikan Group from Rizal also in Kalinga will perform in celebration of the 12th city founding anniversary themed “Rang ay ken balligi, rambak ti umili.”

The nine groups were screened and are champions in their respective areas to qualify for this year’s enhanced cultural street and field dance competition.

The groups will be judged for choreography, execution, instrumentation and musicality, costumes and props as well as overall impact, 12 judges have been called to select the champions for this year.

Over P1 million will be given as prizes with the overall champion to receive P200,000 while the 1st runner-up will get P150,000 and the 2nd runner-up to get P100,000. Consolation prizes of P25,000 will be given while all finalists will receive P50,000 each.

Last year, street dancers from Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya were hailed as champions during the 17th Matagoan festival on the first year the event opened its doors to contingents from neighboring areas to compete in the street dancing.

The Aritao group portrayed the Ifugao tradition on hunting, wherein the community offers prayers to Kabunian (God) during planting season and ask for the help of mumbaki’s (priest) for a successful harvest.