The Spectacle of Our Heritage

By Ramon Jorge Sarabosing

No doubt about it, this year’s Balangay Festival float parade is the finest.

Having seen previous Balangay parades before, last Friday’s marked a big improvement in terms of aesthetics.

A reflection, I believe, showing a definite maturity of understanding and belief of the ancient boat as a true symbol of what it stands for.

Since the beginning when it was adapted as the symbolic icon of Butuan, I noticed a sense of confusion and uncertainty, both from the folk artists and institutions.

I recall a few Balangay floats sailed on the street like cargo ships, crude and devoid of indigenous embellishments. Only few as well managed to showcase artistry and imagination.

But this year, the Balangays, all 16 of them from some barangays and institutions presented a spectacle of Butuanon heritage, ushering our sense of approval and pride.

All, I must say, a dynamic work of creativity and a product of culture we can proudly call our own.

Now you would understand why Butuanons will say-and totally agree with- “Ato ni! Kadyawon ta!” Such affirming and enviable expression of rootedness and belonging.

I went near the floats and what generated a sensible theatrical connection was the entry of Caraga State University (CSU) where the Baganis ( tribal warriors) in chorus lamented in loyal determination, “Bugsay,bugsay…” Ah, the depth, character and texture of the ancient past flashing back.

This is history retold! We should be grateful of this wondrous spectacle, like a memory passing by and returning and never be forgotten because this is the way we honor our ancestors and the past.

A journey back to our Butuanon roots. This should not be missed every time we come home.

Photos Reah Malviso/ FSUU Intern

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