THE National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), through its Program Monitoring and Evaluation Division Chief and the Head of the Delegations Adelina Suemith, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Youth-Sarawak, Mindanao Development Authority, and Department of Tourism bring Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines in the East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) together to celebrate their rich diverse cultures and shared heritage of the EAGA region in Kuching City and Samarahan Division, Sarawak, Malaysia from November 19 to 23, 2019.

Bannering the this year’s theme Beauty in Cultural Diversity, Budayaw Festival aims to showcase the diversity of creative expressions of the BIMP-EAGA (BE) region; raise public awareness and appreciation on the landscapes and aspirations of the peoples of the region; foster understanding and solidarity among the multi-cultural populations of the BE; and mobilize collaboration and convergence of multi-stakeholders, public and private.

To attain the objectives, there are various components on the festival: colloquium, which will have invited resource persons to shed light on the past cultural and economic exchanges in the region, as well as share the present issues and future programs of the four countries to raise the level of appreciation and understanding among students, educators and media practitioners on the peoples of the BE region; Intertwining Dreams (Ikat weavers), wherein there will be invited weavers who will demonstrate their skills and techniques to reflect diversity of designs and context of ikat weaving, a tradition common in the region, which aims to educate the public on the processes from the preparation of raw materials to the actual weaving; Jewels of the EAGA: Performance showcase, wherein there will be traditional and contemporary performances (theater, dance, music) performed simultaneously in different venues by more than five hundred participants coming from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Palawan, and Mindanao; Voices Rising (Choral Concert) will have selected youth chorale from the four countries to sing country songs including the Budayaw theme song composed purposely for the festival; Earth Music is a mini-concert of traditional musicians performing their unique music, accompanied by their country instruments; Under One Sky: EAGA Visual Arts Exhibition is an exhibition of BIMP visual artists at the Merdeka Plaza Atrium with interactive arts workshops to engage the public into creative processes as well as learn the significance of the artwork; Community Outreach will have performances outside of the city of Kuching to share with the townfolks the spirit of Budayaw and for the guests to experience the hospitality and culture of the countryside; Trade and Travel Fair which is organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Youth-Sarawak which is composed of exhibition that provides visitors an opportunity to know the tourist attractions and cultural icons of the four countries; Culinary showcase wherein the chefs from the four countries will give visitors the chance to taste the unique dishes of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines; and Fashion Show of local fabrics with performance that interprets the richness of textile traditions in the country.

Budayaw, combination of the Bahasa "budaya" which means culture and the Filipino "dayaw" which means good or beautiful, aims to strengthen the ties within the region through a celebration of its cultural diversity and heritage.

Budayaw is a grand cultural exchange of the BIMP-EAGA held every two years, hosted by each of the member-states. The first Budayaw Festival was held in 2017, in General Santos City, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the ASEAN where Philippines was the host.

Budayaw Festival materialized when the Socio-cultural Development Working Group (SCD) agreed to institutionalize a signature event which will serve as venue to foster stronger connectivity among the peoples of the region. It happened shortly after the addition of the Socio-cultural and Education Pillar in BIMP-EAGA in 2015.