Saturday, July 21, 2012

15 Things I want to discover at the T'nalak Festival

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I first heard of the province of South Cotabato through the music of the legendary Pinoy band Asin in one of their popular songs.

Honestly, I have to admit that I grew up with a not-so-good impression not only on the province but the whole island of Mindanao because of the unpleasant news that I watched on TV, heard on radio and read in the newspapers about the region when I was a kid.

But things changed when I met some of my best pals in college who came from different provinces from the South. They shared great stories back home that made me want to visit Mindanao.

My first great experience in the region happened last year when I spent a week of business trip ni Cagayan De Oro.  There I met new friends during my short but fruitful stay.  During one conversation with a fellow participant in a conference that I attended, he told me that I should consider visiting his birthplace South Cotabato if ever I wanted to have another taste of Mindanao.

He was so excited most in discussing their very own T’nalak Festival which happens on July every year. From then on, I have included visiting the province and experiencing what is describe as a much awaited event in the region in my bucket list.

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Hopefully next year, I can finally fulfill my longing to visit South Cotabato and finally experience first hand the great atmosphere and colorful celebration of their very own festival.  I have enumerated 15 things that I want to discover if ever I get a chance to be there. I made a list using T’NALAK FESTIVAL as my guide to easilily remind me of what amazing things are in store for me.

T'boli Tribe. I would like to interact with one of the indiginous peoples of South Cotabato who create and weave a cloth where the popular festival was named after.

Native costume Blaian. I am simply amazed with the colorful costumes that locals wear during the festivities that I also wanted to get into one or even buy as a souvenir.

Artistry and music. I have heard that the province has rich musical heritage consisting of various types of agung ensembles composed of different gongs. Listening to it would give a distint feeling that can only be found in the region.  

Lovely faces and warm smile. Mutya ng Cotabato has been a much anticipated annual event in the province. It feels like heaven when you see beautiful faces giving you a friendly smile not only in the pageant but in every corner you go.

Anniversary of South Cotabato. Taking part in the T’nalak Festival is like being a part of the province’s history since the festival is held during its foundation anniversary.

Koronadal City. The provincial capital which is also known as Marbel among the local population is the melting pot of the contrasting ethnic cultures and influences, many dialects and indigenous traditions in South Cotabato.

Float and parade. Some of the highlights of the celebration is the float and cheer dance competition and the T’nalak Parade or madai Bel which is such a joy to watch for the young people and those young at heart.

Entertainment. Every year, celebrities are invited to hold a show or concert where anyone can dance and sing their heart out along popular movie actors and professional singers and/ or bands.

Street dance. Local and foreign tourist flocked to the streets to witness world-class street dancing competition that features the best of the best of South Cotabato.

Tradition. The festival not only offers a feast for the eyes but also a glimpse of the rich heritage of the province--- the sounds, culture, beliefs and way of life are showcased in this week-long celebration.

Incredible tourist sites. South Cotabato has a lot of scenis places, amazing and enchanting natural attractions like Lake Sebu, Mt. Matutum, Koronadal Valley and the beautiful surroundings of Pao-Pao.  

Vegetable and fruits. The province is famous for its fresh harvests particularly pineapple and asparagus from the Dole plantation. Roadside stalls also sell bananas, durian, marang and other local produce at low prices.

Agri-fair and bazaar. When you are looking for great food and other stuff and your on a budget, this is the place to be. Every thing is eye-candy so better allot a budget to satisfy your cravings.

Love for one’s community. All in all, the T’nalak Festival is such a sight to behold because it reflects and tells how united the people of South Cotabato are as manifested in the time and effort they share to make the event a big success.

And my 15th reason of a guranteed wonderful and hassle-free visit in South Cotabato is the improved signal of Sun Cellular in the province. Now, I can call my frinds in Manila and have an uninterrupted and clear connection as if I am just a city away from them.

Making this list just made me more excited and decided to plan a trip down south anytime soon.  I just hope all my plans will fall into places so by next year, I will can finally take part of T’nalak Festival.

I wish to end this rambling of yours trully with this year’s theme of the very successful festival as to invite myself ang all the readers of this blog to try a new wonderful experience next year...

“South Cotabato, Making a Difference... Amo Na Ya!”

This is my submission for the T'nalak Festival 2012 Blog Writing Contest, which is made possible with the support of sponsors such as Hon. Governor Arthur Y. Pingoy, Jr and the province of South Cotabato, Sun Cellular - get two days of unlimited text to all networks for only ₱15 with SUN TEXTALL15, Dole Philippines, Representative Teddy CasiƱo & Bayan Muna Party-ListKCC Malls, SouthCotabato.Org and South Cotabato News


Divine C. said...

I also want to join this great festival! This is one event that local and international tourist should not miss!

ddujale said...

I want to idalum sang Logo...instead sang "amo na 'ya!"..."muna 'ya!"

Mommy Leah said...

wow! I want to go to South Cotabato, too!