Inaul Festival 2018 in Maguindanao

I am an advocate of cultural heritage preservation and when an invite to witness the Inaul Festival in Maguindanao appeared in the picture, I never hesitated and instantly said yes. Anything that has to do with culture preservation excites me.  I am also committing to my mission of promoting awareness, education and diversity in Mindanao (and beyond) as a Mindanaoan. I am all for diversity. 

Inaul Festival 
"A Fabric of Peace: Weaving diversity, Connecting Boundaries"
February 5 - 14

Inaul Festival is a celebration of cultural heritage. Inaul refers to special handwoven cloth designs commonly worn by Maguindanaoans. This celebration showcases ethnic Maguindanaon culture and arts and is held at the lakeside town of Buluan, the province's capital.

The Philippines is known to have a long list of festivals all year round but I firmly believe Maguindanao's Inaul Festival is one of the most authentic festival in the country. 

What to expect?

Just like any other festivals in the country, Inaul Festival also prepared a long list of exciting activities for all Maguindaons and all visitors of the province. 

The Festivities in the province commenced with a motorcade in front of the proposed Provincial Capitol Complex, then cutting of ribbons for the Inaul Trade Expo at the Inaul Trade Expo Tent Area.

There's the festival parade from Buluan Municipal Ground to Buluan Municipal Gymnasium too, participated by different organizations, schools, and respective offices of the local government to officially open Inaul festival.

Kapaginaul Competition

Inaul is specially handhoven and worn by Maguindanaons with respect and pride. Inaul is one of the Philippines indigenous fabric. This intricate high quality fabric weaving is a skill passed down to generation from generation.

Kapaginaul means "to weave". This competition is mostly joined by a group of women weavers from different municipalities in Maguindanao. A 3 meter long malong takes 4-5 days to make, while an Inaul Tendong (shawl) may take 2 days and a turban (a piece of cloth commonly used by men to adorn their head. Also called surban or pis syabit in Tausug) can be done in just a few hours.

Sagayan Competition

Sagayan is a Philippine war dance which depicts the rich Maguindanaon pageantry war. Featuring warriors in different weapons. Sagayan is most commonly performed during Kanduli ( A thanksgiving) and even weddings. I enjoyed watching these groups perform. 

Sipa sa Manggis

Sipa sa Manggis is a traditional Maguindanaon game. Performed by two groups with the use of sipa to hit a certain target hanged a few feet above. Usually played when there are celebrations.

Alugan sa Maguindanao

A cooking showdown held at the Inaul Trade Expo which showcases authentic Maguindanaon dishes that are all Palapa-based. Palapa is sweet, spicy, earthy in taste, and have a grain-like consistency. It's like grated young coconut meat and some chilis, I assume. Palapa is a staple condiment in Maguindanaon cuisine and can be found in most Maguindanaon homes.  If you know me, you probably know how hooked I am to Maranao's palapa and this version of the Maguindanaon also did not disappoint. It's also as good! You shouldn't eat your pastil without it!

I have tried a lot of Maguindanaon dishes during my first visit in Maguindanao back in 2014 and they were all interesting, Beef Sinina is exceptionally my favorite.

Cultural Dance Drama Competition

I  really commend the province for hosting this competition to see Maguindanaon's perfomance in all it's guises; music, dance, and drama.  Maguindanaon dance is dynamic, original, and intensely expressive. To witness such competition is a great opportunity to understand their culture more. 

Solo Ethnic Instrumental & Kulintang Ensembles Competition

Inaul Festival 2018 Solo Ethnic Instrumental champion, from Mamasapano, Maguindanao.  I also enjoyed this competition. It's not just a competition but a show. It truly showcases the talent of the Maguindanaons with the aid of an ethnic instrument. I can still clearly remember every beautiful melody.

Kagkuya na Kalabaw

 I wasn't able to witness cos it ended right before I knew it. It happened so fast. lol 

Basically a Carabao Race where Carabao's follows a track and whoever finishes first wins.

Palamata  Nu Maguindanao

Pretty faces, picture-perfect bodies, professionally done hair & make-up but beyond that this is a beauty and brain battle. This year's competition was hosted by Megan Young, Fil-American Actress, Model, TV Host, a beauty queen, AND Miss World 2013.

Kagkuya na Awang

A boat race that took place at the newly developed Buluan Boulevard. There's also the fish landing by the boulevard so it's nice to see how people in Buluan catch their fish. Fish in this part of the region is aplenty.

Dindang sa Lalan Showdown

Dindang sa Lalan - means street dancing in Maguindanaon. The highly anticipated event for this festival where every contingent proudly presents their colorful and energetic vibes as they parades the streets of Buluan.

Those were the major activities for Inaul Festival 2018

Apart from those activities the province of Maguindanao also prepared fun highlights.

Motocross Competition

Numerous night show performances of  artists from Manila

This year, they brought a lot of Manila artists. I enjoyed Ex Battalion the most. Every one I know knows I'm a huge fan of Marky Maglasang so I braved the swarming spectators and joined the fun night of hip hop / rap music. 

Kulay Festival

Kulay Festival marked the end of the festival with the grandest line up of artists, Rocksteddy, 6cyclemind, Silent Sanctuary, Hale, Mayonnaise, Aia de Leon (of Imago), and Madeline. 

It was a week of fun and cultural experience. I had a grand time. Definitely one for the books. 

Masjid Dimaukom, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao

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