I have to admit. I have been planning to experience the T’nalak for so many many moons and countless meteor showers, until this June when I finally got invited by the Department of Tourism RegionXII.
T’nalak is Festival held every 18th of July. It has a pretty fixed schedule, coinciding with the founding anniversary of the province of South Cotabato. The main event of the Fiesta (streetdancing competition) is traditionally held in the capital, Koronadal City.
The streetdancing competition has three distinct categories namely: Madal Be lan, Kadsagayan a Lalan and Kasadyahan sa Kapatagan.
Madal Be’Lan showcases the rich traditions and dances of the Blaan and T’boli people. They usually have the most stunning costume design.
Kadsagayan a Lalan is a category mainly highlighting the muslim people of South Cotabato mainly the Maguindanao and Maranao.
The third category the Kasadyahan sa Kapatagan is a celebration of the Christian residents. Its theme mainly focuses on courtship, engagement wedding and even Fiesta sa Nayon.
It was a visual feast! For a first timer like me i am immensely overwhelmed at the traditional dances of the T’boli contingents representing the various towns of South Cotabato.
I was a bit wary of Kasadyahan sa Kapatagan though, after seeing their streetdance routine i was expecting a performance morr or less skin to the Kasadyahan Festival of Iloilo or it music includes the high-pitched bugle giving it a Sinulog-ish feel.
But i was wrong. There was no bugle. No fast paced drum beats. Instead there were bamboo instruments and golden voices giving so much life to the performance. It was beautiful!
There were music patterned after the Ilokano folk Song, Pamulinawen as well as the Tagalog folk song Sitsiritsit.
In the end the contingent from Santa Cruz Mission School of Lake Sebu emerged as the champion in the Madal Be Lan category. Lemsnolon Elementary School of T’boli Knoon Municipality came in second Place.
The contingent from the Municipality of Santo Niño has capitalized on their experience to emerge as the Kadsagayan a Lalan champion. First runner up was the contingent from Edwards National High School of T’Boli South Cotabato.
T’nalak Festival is indeed a grand showcase ofthe rich South Cotabato culture. Its is a diverse province with a mix of Christians Muslims and the Lumad. Amd just like the famed t’nalak fabric, it has been weaved perfectly and smoothly. Its colors are bright evoking a strong feeling of happiness.
up until today, the vivid colors of the T’nalak festival remains in my mind. I am now looking forward to return to Koronadal for next year’s edition of the festival.