[Bangued] ► Silnag: Night Parade of Floats, Lighted with Love and Pride

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"Although the stigma of Abra in the politics world is the source of its infamy, there will still be a light to enlighten the dark ages."

[BANGUED, ABRA, PHILIPPINES] ▬ My experience in Abra last March (2015) upon gracing the invitation of Vice Governor Chari Bersamin has changed my perspective about the place and on how I view it as a province. I realized that the struggle this unassuming province is facing about its negative publicity, behind the mind-conditioning ability of mass media, is too much to bear.

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ INNOCENT CHILDREN PLAYING AROUND A LIGHTED FLOAT


We entered the Abra Grandstand at night. Everything seems normal. I no longer feel the tension I used to feel when it was my first time to travel to Abra. You know, those times, the notoriety of Abra embedded on the face of pop culture was a concept I used to believe as a first time visitor. I used to be paranoid. When I started exploring the province from the valley to its hinterlands, my view changed.

This time, I am just overwhelmed to encounter new things once again. If this is a drug, I am intoxicated now. I just can't contain the overjoy. The people in Abra are gathered here, at night, to celebrate the beauty of their culture and heritage. All walks of life are present. The tribes from the mountains traveled down to the valley to be part of the celebration. There was peace and harmony. You see? The notoriety is too much for the province to deal with. The people here just want to live a normal life. Abra is a peace-loving community.

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ POLICEMEN NOT AS PEACE KEEPERS, BUT AS MUSICIANS

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ THESE TALENTED POLICEMEN GAVE A FESTIVE SOUND FOR SILNAG.

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ ABRA'S POLICEMEN ARE TALENTED TOO.


Then I walked carefree in the grandstand locally called as 'oval.' I saw some policemen. Well, I thought they're here to function as peacekeepers. I was wrong. These officers of the law are here to play the trumpets and the drums. 

Linger, I asked myself why the policemen have to do this. Until I saw the beautiful floats emitting adorable hues of light under the dark sky. That was the hint. So this is the "Silnag" event I saw on the schedule of activities for the Kawayan Festival 2015. There will be a parade at night. The policemen will play sounds to summon the spirit of peace with the music of unity.

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ THIS FLOAT FEATURES THE CACAO, A LOCAL PRODUCT OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF BUCAY


For this space of time, this event called Silnag is on its debut. For the very first time, floats from different towns of Abra were creatively crafted to grace the occasion. 

I noticed the cacao float from the municipality of Bucay. This gave me an idea that Abra also produces cacao particularly the latter town. So clever. This has become a channel to promote their local industries and a fun medium for learning.

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ DETAILS OF BUCAY'S CACAO FLOAT

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ SO THIS IS TEAM DISKARTE'S WORK.


I also saw this float with a giant form of men (probably Itneg) dressed with tapis and baag who seem to be dancing their tadek. The woman mannequin spreads her upper limbs while the man is dancing with his gansa. The float is portraying a sacred rite of the tribesmen. The tribes of Abra dance tadek during special occasions and rituals. They don't do the dance for granted. 

The makers of the float surely created it with love and pride. They showcased their beautiful traditions and way of living. It was just a float but it meant more for me. I've been exposed many times to the tribal villages and I've learned to understand their culture. My experience in their abode has taught me many lessons I've never learned in school so I've developed this mindset that the tribesmen are richer in many ways. That simple float you are seeing could teach you a hundred new interesting (at least on my part) lesson.

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ TEAM DISKARTE AND TEAM CACAO

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ BAMBOOS AND A HUGE MUSHROOM

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ ABRA, BOLDLY WRITTEN

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ SO WELL-LIGHTED

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ CLOSER, BIGGER SMILE


The floats, products of the Abrenios' love and pride of their homeland, are exuding more positive things. As I aimlessly walk in the oval while seeing these products of craftsmanship, I know there is more to discover in Abra. I've let go of the political stigma. I've embraced the good vibes this province could offer.
ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[BANGUED] ▬ CHILDREN OF ABRA LOOKING AT THE FLOAT FEATURING BAMBOO GRASS


"Silnag" is just one of the events and features of the Kawayan Festival 2015. Silnag is an Ilocano word for "beam of light." This is a very timely event because I'm personally anticipating more good great things that will happen in Abra in the future in terms of tourism and economic development.

I know Abra will arise soon. It's just getting its momentum. Although the stigma of Abra in the politics world is the source of its infamy, there will still be a light to enlighten the dark ages.

After the Silnag event, I walked close to the gymnasium and I saw children wearing their traditional costumes. It feels great to see that the culture is passed to the new generation. But what are these children doing here? Why they are wearing these costumes? I am foreseeing a big cultural event that time because of the multitude of  children and youth scattered around the oval with colorful and amazing traditional dresses.

In the province of Abra, there is a dark age in its political history, but light will still defeat darkness. Darkness will never prevail. ▬ to be continued...

ABRA KAWAYAN FESTIVAL

[UP NEXT] ▬ WHY THESE CHILDREN ARE HERE FOR THE NIGHT?

► ABRA MARCH 2015 TRAVEL SERIES

I was surprised even more how rich the culture of Abra is. Very rich. Very unique. Their identity and culture make Abra a very interesting province to love and take care. What these children are doing here? Hang on for Part 6.
___________________________________________________
Part 1

[BANGUED] ▬ My First Midnight in the Hill of Cassamata via Oval Era

_________________
TEASER ► ...as the sun sets down with the silhouette of Mt Bullagao, west of the river valley, I leave the place. I never attempted to stay there after dark.
| Part 2

[BANGUED] ▬ Padaya Trade Fair: Abra Local Industries' Heart & Soul

_________________
TEASER ► I thought it would be another ordinary trade fair but I was wrong. The padaya gave me many answers on my search for truth and knowledge: reasons why I love traveling.
| Part 3

[LA PAZ] ▬ A Village of Abel (Loom) Weavers in Abra Called Bulbulala

_________________
TEASER ► Who would have thought that today, their pasture became greener by keeping the inheritance manifested through their weaving skills.
| Part 4

[BANGUED] ▬ Abra River Sunset in Calaba

_________________
TEASER ► Abra has no beach. This river serves as a summer getaway. The sunset here is unique. It represents Abra's distinct landscape.
| Part 5 | Part 6

[BANGUED] ▬ A Night of Traditional Dances and Cultural Rites

_________________
TEASER ► I was surprised even more how rich the culture of Abra is. Very rich. Very unique. Their identity and culture make Abra a very interesting province to love and take care.
| Part 7

[BANGUED] ▬ Brgy Patucannay: of Waking Up Early and a Soup Dish

_________________
TEASER ► I observed how they prepare this popular soup dish. They just prepare everything right before your eyes. I saw bones, mainly skulls, in a stainless basin.
| Part 8

[BANGUED] ▬ Kawayan Festival: The Biggest Cultural Show in Abra

_________________
TEASER ► No million-dollar dance show can ever fathom the depth of the meaning of the dances their ancestors wanted them to execute.
| Part 9

[BANGUED] ▬ Bamboo Float Parade and the Cool Mountain Tribes

_________________
TEASER ► They have proven that the province of Abra is a sterling destination for mountain culture lovers.


► FOOTNOTES, DISCLAIMERS, ACKNOWLEDGMENT, ETC

[1] Big thanks to Abra Vice Governor, Hon Chari Bersamin, for inviting us to witness the Kawayan Festival 2015. With me is Estan Cabigas of langyaw.com

[2] The map I used below is courtesy of Eugene Villar on Wikipedia.
Source:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3APh_locator_map_abra.png
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ph_locator_abra_bangued.png
___________________________________________________

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