More Fun in the Philippines

Kaamulan Festival: Yes, these tribes can dance

A tribe from one of Bukidnon’s seven indigenous groups participate in the yearly street dancing competition called Kaamulan Festival in Malaybalay City. Photo by Erwin Mascariñas for

With the beat of their native rhythms, members of the seven tribes of Bukidnon showed off their best tribal dancing form as they participated in a unique street dancing competition meant to promote peace among each other.

Thousands of people from all over the 20 municipalities of Bukidnon, from Region 10, together with tourists flock the streets of Malaybalay City last Saturday, March 3, 2012 watched as the tribes moved and chanted their way at the Kaamulan Festival, the region’s annual grand event.

Kaamulan is from the local word “amul” which means “to gather.” The festival is an annual gathering of Bukidnon’s seven tribes showcasing its rich culture and traditions. Namely the Talaandig, Manobo, Higa-onon, Matigsalug, Tiguahanon, Umayamnon and Bukidnon.

It is a gathering of Bukidnon tribes for a purpose. It can mean a peace pact, datuship ritual, a wedding ceremony, or a thanksgiving festival during harvest time.

This year Valencia City, together with the towns of Cabanglasan, Quezon, Kalilangan, Malitbog, San Fernando, and Maramag participated in the street dancing presentation featuring tribal members of their respective communities.

Combined with colorful authentic costumes, the beat of ethnic music and traditional dance steps the performers give out their best in giving the crowd more than what they came to witness. Kaamulan Festival is an ethnic cultural festival held annually in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon from the second half of February to March 10, the anniversary date of the foundation of Bukidnon as a province in 1917.

The festival was first observed on May 15, 1974, during the fiesta celebration of the then municipality of Malaybalay. The celebration proved very popular and together with national coverage the Kaamulan festival has become the regional festival of Northern Mindanao, as declared by the Regional Development Council of Region 10 on September 16, 1977. Kaamulan used to be held on the first week of September but in 1996, it was transferred to the present date to synchronize it with the foundation celebration of the province.