ISABELA dancers bagged the top plum of the 18th Matagoan Festival in Tabuk City, Kalinga.

The Balatong Festival presentation of San Mateo, Isabela was hailed grand champion besting eight contingents in the Enhanced Cultural and Field Dance Competition 2019: Invitational Battle of the Champions.

Mayor Ferdinand Tubban awarded all finalists of the battle of the champions which pitted the best of the best against each other in the 2nd year of the invitational competition that opened its doors to contingents from all over the country.

The Balatong dancers also won the special award of the festival as they depicted a planting and harvest season with live musical performances and costume changes for the entire contingent.

The group was previously hailed the 2018-2019 grand champion of the local Balatong Festival of the town.

Second place went to defending champions Tribu Ari-Tau troupe from Aritao, Nueva Viscaya with a presentation of the Bummayah festival.

The group is the three time Nueva Visacaya Hall of Fame awardee and an 11 time Nueva Viscaya street dance champion.

Third place went to the municipality of Rizal in Kalinga with their Pinikpikan Festival performance by the Rizal National High School of Arts and Trade.

Participant finalists include the Santigao City grand champions of the Balamban Festival, Kalinga National High School Tabuk City – KNHS dance troupe with their entry Matagoan Festival, Tabuk City High SPA with their entry Bolog di Tabukeño, The San Carlos City dance troupe with the Mango Bamboo Festival, Western Wonders Bamboo Ensemble from Tabuk City with their entry Dupag Bamboo Festival and the Western Tam Awan Cultural dancers from Tabuk City with their entry Harvest Festival.

Tourism officer Arlene Odiem said participation for the festival has been increasing through the years.

“With the invitational, events conducted like the street dance, Patawid Fair, agri-coop events, dumami lalo tourist arrivals during festival further boosting community participation,” Odiem said.