I cannot say that the 2012 MunaTo festival held last November 28-30, 2012 was successful. The real essence of MunaTo was not materialized. The cultural heritage of our Indigenous people (I.P.) was not emphasize and there was no in depth celebration of it. Though I'm from Alabel, Sarangani Province (in which the festival was held), I am not fond of attending this event because for me it has no sense and no substance because of its superficial celebration.
MunaTo came from B'laan word --- Muna which means first and To means people, first people. From the name itself you will expect (especially if you're an outsider) a showcase of B'laan culture. Though there were some recognition about their culture (as well as the other tribes), there was no in depth celebration of it. It is still the same old commercialized, boring and superficial event. It should separate the cultural celebration from capitalism or commercialism.
The only event that gives importance to the culture of I.P. in Sarangani (or in the Philippines in general) was the National Sunrise festival. But this event was only attached to MunaTo and not the MunaTo itself.
How I wish there will be changes not only in MunaTo Festival but also in other Festivals here in the Philippines (I am not generalizing it). It should emphasize not only preserving our culture but also sustaining it. We should give importance to it than "non-sense" things. As I have learned in the Indigenous Community Foresight Interface-Dialogue in Sunrise Festival, the cultural infrastructure is the new trend of the future. I hope the government or the Filipinos in general should give importance, pride and appreciation to it. As what Marcus Garvey said, "People without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots."
UPDATE: I am still hopeful that the organizers of the said event will give much emphasis in cultural regeneration efforts for the benefits of the people in Sarangani. (02-04-15)
Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.