By; Dulce Santos
(February 10, 2013)

The Province of Maguindanao, under the leadership of Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, is celebrating the Sagayan Festival 2013 from February 10-14, 2013. This is the 2nd year that the Municipality of Buluan, conducted this flamboyant and lively event, drawing thousands of spectators, visitors and participants around the province and the ARMM. The Sagayan Festival has become the trademark annual celebration of the Province of Maguindanao, supported by all the nearby municipalities in the area. Like all the other festivals, the Sagayan depicts the local culture of Maguindanao, the history of its people and the traditions that persisted in the Moro life through the years. The province has recreated this festival to foster harmony among the people in their pursuit of lasting, sustainable peace in Maguindanao.

This year the theme of the festival is "Maguindanao's Culture and Traditions for a Better Understanding and Harmony...A glance." The opening activities on February 10, 2013 started with a street parade, messages from the local officials of the province and guest speakers. Several activities, including performances from the Maguindanao Dance Troupe, and a list of other relevant activities served to enliven the celebration.

The Sagayan, originally known as the Moro war dance, is interpreted to also represent the warding off of evil, and purification of the self. Over the years, the Sagayan has remained a part of the Moro merrymaking, especially during weddings.

In support to the Sagayan Festival, the DOT-ARMM sent a contingent from the office to cover the affair, led by the newly-appointed Regional Secretary, Sittie Jehan Mutin-Mapupuno. We witnessed the excitement of the people as they watched the parade of colorful costumes, graceful dancers wielding swords and using beads and other accessories to create noise. It was a memorable sight to behold and we were all caught up in the fun-filled festivities. Due recognition should be given to the local officials for continuing their efforts in significantly increasing the appreciation of the people towards Sagayan, and making us realize that there is beauty, grace and even, reverence behind the facade of this ritualistic 'ancient war dance'.

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