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MunaTo Festival honors Sarangani’s indigenous roots
ALABEL, Sarangani (November 28, 2022) – Governor Rogelio D. Pacquiao honored Sarangani’s indigenous roots as he recalled how MunaTo was derived from two Blaan words which means “first people.”
The MunaTo Festival, Governor Pacquiao said, is the manifestation “sa dako nga pagpreserba nato sa kultura ug paghatag og pag-ila sa mga tribu sa probinsya sa Sarangani.”
He noted that the Indigenous Peoples Day was truly among his “priorities” in the comeback celebration of the 20th MunaTo Festival and 30th Founding Anniversary of the province.
The IP Day celebration, dubbed as Kastifun di Munato, highlighted the colorful culture of Sarangani through tribal performances, rituals, and games of the Blaan, Tagakaolo, and Tboli tribes.
This year’s MunaTo Festival also featured the Craft Conference, Exhibition, and Cultural Presentation where different works of art of the indigenous peoples of Sarangani were displayed which promotes cultural preservation amidst the fast-changing world.
Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (GAMABA) awardee Bai Estelita Bantilan, together with other local weavers showcased their handwoven products like the Blaan igem (mat) and other beadworks at the Kasfala Hall, Capitol grounds.
“We need more tribal leaders in Sarangani aron dili mamatay ang kinabuhi sa tribu sa probinsya,” said Datu Edmund Pangilan, Sarangani’s provincial tribal chieftain.
On October 3 during the launching of Ronda Probinsya at Barangay New Canaan, Pangilan led the ceremonial conferment of the Municipal Tribal Council of Alabel to Governor Pacquiao of the title "Fulung Tmarag Di Banwe."
He said the title represents “ang pag-pangulo sa probinsya nga naay dignidad, integridad, ug pag-palangga sa katawhan.”
Congressman Steve Chiongbian Solon on the other hand, told the IPs the good news that a house bill declaring the IP Day a special non-working holiday in Sarangani is on its third reading in the Congress and will soon become a law.
He said this will provide more opportunities for the province to honor and celebrate all the indigenous peoples in Sarangani. (Jori Mae R. Samillano & photos by Jake Narte/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)