Lang-ay Festival: A nostalgic look at history and culture

>> Monday, March 7, 2016

Roger Sacyaten

BONTOC, Mountain Province -- This year’s edition of the Lang-ay Festival may yet be regarded as a glimpse to the ancient culture of the central tribe of Bontok and almost other tribes in the province that regard the evolution of the people in this parts of the province from a common origin.
Among the first activities of Lang-ay is a trek to the legendary Mount Kalawitan, 4th highest mountain of Luzon rising at 2714meters above sea level in the trio-boundary of Bontoc, Sabangan, and Bauko in the province.
Folklore has it that the peak of Mount Kalawitan was not submerged during the great flood that inundated the earth. It was here that Wigan and Bugan begun the start of civilization, a story that elders best recant with varied versions depending on ones’ location.
Beautiful stories abound as much as varied flora and fauna can be found in the area captivating trekkers who have gone once to the enchanted mountain.
It was also believed that there was once a mountain god named Lumawig who had three giant snakes. The three snakes convened about leaving the mountain, but before they had the chance the god Lumawig, who feared that many people will die when the three snakes leave the mountain, turned them into three rivers that flows around the mountain namely the Chico River, Kapangdanan River, and Dilikey River. 
The group organizing the Lang-ay Trek plans to make the event invitational inviting all mountaineering enthusiasts to come and join the activity on April 2. A pre-validation trek is to be conducted before the day possibly in the last week of February.
Another innovation scheduled for Lang-ay Festival 2016 is the olden “Fagfagto” along the Chico River banks. Strategic and exact location is still being determined by those in charge of the indigenous games.
“Fagfagto” had been an annual tradition observed in the olden times by folks during the times when rice crop harvesting is done and the beginning of the planting of sweet potatoes or camote in the rice fields.
It involved the throwing of stones by opposing teams of young males at against each other as they were stationed at opposite camps across the Chico River near Samoki every afternoon.
The objective in the event is to hit the members of the opposing team as many as possible to win the game which can only be distinguished when the opposing team retreats or run away.
It is the beliefs that the more injuries a participant sustain during the ‘fagfagto’ mean the bigger in size and quantity the sweet potato or camote he will harvest.
It was learned that the mechanics and guidelines are still detailed by those concerned. But the ‘fafagto’ will happen on April 9.
Among the other identified events during the Lang-ay Festival are the Agro-trade fair from April 1-10, Indigenous games and cultural exposition from April 6-9, Igorot showdown and Ethnic fashion show on April 8, and street dancing and cultural presentations, Lang-ay by the street, and Gangsa Night on April 9  
The biggest “patopat” will be featured in the afternoon of April 9 for the public to partake along with other indigenous foods and drinks in the Lang-ay by the Street sponsored by the Bontoc Market Vendors Association, the Foyayeng Young Mothers Organization and the Afew Womens Association.
As part of the featuring of the history and culture of the province, the International Igorot Conference of the Igorot Global Organization will be conducted.
Participants to this conference are natives of the region and the province who are working and residing elsewhere, abroad and in the country. This will be an opportunity for a home-coming for them.
“It is expected that the history of the province and cultures of the people will be highlighted in the staging of Lang-ay Festival 2016. Some may have been portrayed in past Lang-ays but this year’s edition will be an event to watch out for”, said Paulino Tumapang Jr., Chairperson of the Lang-ay Festival Organization, the embodiment of the partnership between the provincial government and the private sector with the involvement of the local government units and some national line agencies.



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