Embracing Heritage and Culture through Pagdaug-Saludan Festival

Text and photos by: Bombette G. Marin

Tigbauan, Iloilo is inviting visitors to journey through its rich cultural traditions and historical diversity through the Pagdaug – Saludan Festival on March 10-18, 2019. Witness how Tigbauanons really come together in a spirit of participation to hold this annual festivity.

Enjoy a fun-filled week starting March 10 (Sunday) 3×3 Basketball Games at 9 a.m.; March 11 (Monday) Opening Salvo, Parade Carroza Float Contest at 3 p.m., Opening of Trade Fair and TalentoLokal Art Exhibit at 3 p.m.; March 12 (Tuesday) Pagdaug – SaludanQuizz Bee at 9 a.m., Little Miss Tigbauan at 7 p.m.; March 13 (Wednesday) Kinilaw Festival – Kinilaw Competition at 9 a.m.; March 14 (Thursday) SCFAI 26th Foundation Day at 8 a.m., On-The-Spot Art Exhibit at 3 p.m., Banda MusikoSaludanRockfest at 7 p.m.;

March 15 (Friday) Drum Corps Competition 2019 at 2 p.m.; Singing Idol 2019 and Tigbauan Tourism Promotional Video Contest at 6 p.m.; March 16 (Saturday) Search for Pagdaug Festival King and Queen 2019 at 7 p.m.; March 17 (Sunday) Pagdaug – Saludan Tribal Dance Drama Competition 2019 at 2:30 p.m., Awarding Ceremonies at 6 p.m., Estrawnghero Liberation Party at 8 p.m.; March 18 (Monday) Victory Run at 5 a.m., Mass at 5:30 a.m., Parade and Floral Offering at 7 a.m., Program for Victory and Day at 8 p.m.; Victory Day Brunch at 10 a,m,

The heart of the festival program is the Tribal Dance-Drama Competition on March 17, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. where contesting tribes will showcase a two-part presentation. The opening scene, the Pagdaug, commemorates the historic liberation of Panay from invading Japanese troops during World War II.

Scenes show harassment of locals by Japanese Imperial Armies and communities sabotaged and destroyed. It was in March 18, 1945 when some 23,000 strong guerilla forces under Col. Macario Peralta landed on the shores of Barangay Parara of the town.

The Saludan portion maybe a familiar sight, but little is known about it. Coined from the Hiligaynon word salud or the traditional way of gathering or accumulating a thing for its interest or value, the different contesting tribes will showcase through dance interpretations of Pagpanalud in land during harvest, on the sea at early morning or when collecting sap from a coconut tree to prepare coconut wine.

Pagpanalud sa Uma or the winnowing of rice during harvest season has its roots in historical and traditional practices. Pagpanalud starts after threshing, involving the use of bare feet spread over a mat or canvass and workers trample with their own feet. After the treading, the straw is separated from the grains and cleaning of the grain is done by winnowing. Winnowing removes lighter materials such as unfilled grains, chaff, weed seeds and straw remains.

The traditional method starts by placing the grain on a winnowing bamboo tray; they then place a net, mat or canvas on the ground; tilt the bamboo tray against the wind; pour grains slowly at a height of 1m; separate the light and recover only the heavier grains; some blow or use a fan if there is not enough wind.

The traditional method, though laborious and tiring in nature, is still a preferred method amongst rice farmers themselves. During the cultural presentations, the use of traditional bamboo trays or the naturally wind-blown method is shown along with the remaining traditional processes of winnowing incorporated into the dance-drama.

Pagpanalud sa Lawod or the traditional collecting the captured milkfish fry along brackish coastal waters near the mouth of rivers and streams where stands of mangroves are present can be done daily or every two to three days. It is usually done early in the morning or sometimes during low tides.

Collect the trapped fish by scooping them with a fry sweeper or a fan-like gear framed by whole hard bamboos and a detachable fine meshed nylon netting. The frame measures 2-4 m at the sides and 2-3 m at the opening. A bagnet is strung within the narrow end of the frame. Sinamay is usually sewn over the nylon net at the end portion of bagnet to prevent sticking of bangus fry in the nylon netting. The wings of the bottom net are provided with stone or lead metal sinkers. The sweeper is pushed along waist-deep to chest-deep waters for 28 hours depending on fry availability. Daily catch can reach from 200-2,000 fry. The collected bangus fry are placed in well-ventilated containers, preferably wooden vats or big earthen jars filled with clean brackish water. Keep them in cool areas. Overexposure to sunlight is avoided.

Performers interpret this traditional method as male dancers with make-shift fry sweepers incorporate the movement of fry sweeping into traditional dance steps.

Tigbauan boasts a bounty of coconut plantations. The coconut spirit is easy to find in this peaceful community. Tuba or coconut wine is known to be the sweetest in the whole province. The process of Pagpanalud sg Tuba starts when the sap has been collected using a bamboo vessel. The sap is the nectar that comes out when you cut an unopened coconut flower. It is an almost colorless or milky white liquid consumed right after it is collected from the tree because it can sour quickly.

Some allow it to undergo fermentation and distillation to form a harder drink. Interpretations of a mananguete or a coconut climber extracting the sap from a coconut tree or men drinking coconut wine from a bamboo vessel is shown in the dance presentation.

After enjoying the festival, be sure to take a tour around Tigbauan so you can continue to learn about its culture and history.

Tigbauan is a 30 minute-22.5 kilometers land trip south of Iloilo City. The town is comprised of 52 barangays over a land area of 6,062 hectares. It is bordered in the northwest by Leon; the northeast by San Miguel; east by Oton; west by Guimbal and the Iloilo Strait in the south.

To get to the town, one can ride Tigbauan, Guimbal, Miagao or San Joaquin jeepneys at the Don Benito Q. Acap Sr. Southern Iloilo Perimeter Boundary in Barangay Mohon, Oton or when in the city, at the market situated at the back of Robinsons Place Iloilo. For more information, please contact Ronnel Conadera at 09301446888.