"No million-dollar dance show can ever fathom the depth of the meaning of the dances their ancestors wanted them to execute."

[BANGUED, ABRA, PHILIPPINES] ▬ That great day in Abra came. There was no Hollywood star, no pop icon, no charismatic political figure, no teen superstar but there are simple people. They wrapped themselves with the glory of their heritage, looked good. They wore their best smile. Their colorful clothes shone with greatness. The greatness turns to fire. The fire turns to clarity. The spirit of peace is manifesting. The simple people became timeless treasures themselves!

[BANGUED] ▬ THIS ITNEG TRIBE CARRIES WITH THEM THE KAWAYAN OR BAMBOO


No chart-topping hit song can ever parallel the timelessness of their traditional music. No million-dollar dance show can ever fathom the depth of the meaning of the dances their ancestors wanted them to execute. This day is simply ethereal, divine. This is the province of Abra. Welcome to the cultural paradise!

Although this festival is a big picture of the rich culture of the province of Abra, the creators of this festival made it sure that at least one product shall receive the attention that it deserves. It is the bamboo (kawayan in Ilocano) which gained the prime spot.

[BANGUED] ▬ BAMBOO IS A STAR IN THE POOL OF LOCAL PRODUCTS IN ABRA.

[BANGUED] ▬ THE TRIBE'S MARCHING IN.


The people of Abra have come up with many products made from bamboo. The resiliency of this tall grass reflects the resiliency of the people of Abra too. In spite of the hardships in life some of our brethren in Abra are experiencing, they still survive without sacrificing the values their ancestor taught them. They used bamboo, a natural resource linked to their culture, for them to survive, to create music and to build a community. These bamboos are not simply about the local products that some businessmen are marketing for profit. Bamboo is one big plant that has helped mold the culture of the people.

For the Kawayan Festival, street dancers have with them these bamboos while they dance and sing from the heart. With them are bamboo products that speak deep to the soul. The geometric patterns on their woven baskets made of thin and floppy bamboo sticks signify that their inherent artistry is so alive.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THESE STREET DANCERS SMILE FROM THE HEART.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ HUGE BAMBOOS

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE BAMBOO PROPS ARE JUST LOVELY.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ FORMATION IN FRONT OF THE CAPITOL

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ AND YES, THEY CAN DANCE.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE HUT COMES.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ PULLING THE HUT


But not everything is bamboo here. If the creators of the festival made it sure to highlight their bamboo products, the universe conspired to equally highlight the culture and heritage that define who they are. 

I observed keenly from the heart and I noticed that every move that they make is a passion. It seems like they're not just doing it for a show. I feel like they are doing this because they are obligated to preserve the good traditions that they can be proud of.

From the mountains to the valley, there's an inheritance that can't be touched. However, this inheritance can touch your heart. You can't see it but your can feel it.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE MOVES THEY MAKE IS AN INHERITANCE.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE CHEERFUL HEART EXPRESSED IN HUGE SMILE

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ RAISING THE BIGA-O MADE OF BAMBOO

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ NO HOT WEATHER WAS ABLE TO STOP THEM.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE STREET NEVER BECAME DULL.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE ABRENIAN SMILE!

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE ABRENIAN SMILE!

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ IN FRONT OF THE ABRA CAPITOL IS A VISUAL FEAST OF ARTS.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ ANOTHER CULTURAL TROUPE RAISING THE BIGA-O AS PROPS

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ LABBA CONTAINING A FABRIC WOVEN IN ABRA

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE FESTIVAL FEET

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ FESTIVAL GIRL

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE TRIBES ARE COMING.


Kawayan Festival happens on the foundation day of Abra as an independent Philippine province.

The festival features the culture and heritage of every town including the Ilocano people who co-exist with the Itneg tribes. Expect that there is no common dance steps and traditional sounds playing on the street. In fact, it is very diverse. You'll see that each town has an identity to share. Indeed, in Abra, there's unity in diversity.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE SAKUTING DANCERS OF DOLORES TOWN

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ A GIRL FROM THE SAKUTING DANCERS

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ DOLORES IS KNOWN FOR THE SAKUTING DANCE.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE ILOCANOS ARRIVE!

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE ILOCANO DANCES HAVE SPACE IN THIS FESTIVAL, IN FACT, HUGE.


After a fulfilling experience, Elric, a friend from Abra and I went straight to the Abra grandstand where the grandest show will happen.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ SELFIEING WHILE ON THE ROAD TO THE GRANDSTAND

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ GROUFIEING WITH FESTIVAL DANCERS FROM LANGIDEN TOWN

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THEY'RE HERE FOR THE FINAL GRAND SHOW.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THIS IS THE ABRENIAN CHARM.


After the street dancing, all the festival delegates went to the Abra grandstand for the final showdown. It was more like a field demonstration which is as impressive as the street pageantry.

KAWAYAN FESTIVAL ABRA

[BANGUED] ▬ THE FIELD DEMONSTRATION


All ended up in the Abra grandstand. They gave their best shot. The grandstand became a kingdom of life, love and unity. ▬ to be continued...

[UP NEXT] ▬ THIS IS THE FESTIVAL FINALE. WHAT'S THIS?


► ABRA MARCH 2015 TRAVEL SERIES

This long series is almost done. So do you want to see the colors of the festival finale? Hang on for Part 9.
___________________________________________________

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

[BANGUED] ▬ Silnag: Night Parade of Floats, Lighted with Love and Pride

_________________
TEASER ► 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.
| 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 | 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

This experience was made possible through Vice Governor Chari Bersamin who invited us to witness the Abra Kawayan Festival. With me is fellow travel blogger Estan Cabigas of langyaw.com.
___________________________________________________
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_______
TEASER ► This street dancing is one of the must-see events of the week-long Raniag Twilight Festival.

[VIGAN] ▬ Raniag Twilight Festival 2013: Float Parade - Photo Coverage

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TEASER ► The Raniag Float Parade is one of the highlights of the week-long Raniag Twilight Festival in Vigan.

[VIGAN] ▬ Binatbatan Festival Street Dancing 2013 (Photo Coverage)

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TEASER ► "...Viva Vigan Binatbatan Festival of the Arts happens every April 27-May 4. The street pageantry usually falls every May 2."

[VIGAN] ▬ Karbo Festival: of Carabao, Glasses and Seeds

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TEASER ► Events like this happens because this heritage city takes pride of its rich culture and heritage.

[VIGAN] ▬ World Costume Festival: Vigan Conquers the World


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TEASER ► The heart and soul were poured to those costumes. Passion was indeed evident.

[BONTOC] ▬ Lang-ay Festival: Cultural Extravaganza in Mountain Province

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TEASER ► ...a lowlander can still witness their way of living, their traditions and everything a lowlander needs to know about their culture.

[VIGAN] ▬ Longganisa Festival: a Colorful Vigan City Fiesta

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TEASER ► The Longganisa Festival marks the opening of a year-long cultural celebration in Vigan.

[NARVACAN] ▬ Bagnet Festival of the Bagnet town of Ilocos Sur

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TEASER ► ...there is a bagnet town 40 minutes away from Vigan called Narvacan that [really] produces great Bagnet.
SPEAK YOUR HEART OUT. C'MON! DON'T BE SHY. I PROMISE TO REPLY EXCEPT FOR TROLLS.

Axact

EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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