THE Municipality of Isabela in Negros Occidental will hold the first-ever Ati, Bukidnon, Tumandok Festival on April 15 to 21.
Mayor Joselito Malabor said this will be the official festival of Isabela.
Malabor said he came up with the idea, which has a semblance of the town's history and given that the indigenous peoples (IP) communities still exist.
The seven-day activity will have the theme: "Tumandok, Ugyon Kita sa Kadalag-an kag Kauswagan sa Banwang Tinubuan."
"We will relive the history of Isabela town," the mayor said.
Malabor said that based on recent history, the IPs are also lowlanders before, living along the rivers, but were forced to seek refuge in the mountains when outsiders and strangers started to occupy the town.
He added that he has asked the Department of Education to document the history of the town, including the coming up of the first IP dictionary that would translate their language to Ilonggo and Cebuano.
Malabor, who considers himself a Bukidnon after tracing his family history, said the festival will feature tribal dances of the IPs in the street dancing parade and competition.
He said there are six IP communities in the town consisting of at least 200 families each, and part of the festivities will be the crowning of the chieftain of each tribe.
Malabor cited experts who said there are about 13,000 IPs in Isabela town, and if traced through genealogy, 50 to 60 percent of the residents have IPs lineage.
He also corrected the perception that being called Bukidnon refers to people from the mountains.
They are also educated, he added.
Malabor said part of the objective of the festival is to impart the economic system of the locality through value chain and share the culture of the IPs and its significance to the history of Isabela town. (PR)