MunaTo 2022: Sarangani’s cultural festival is back


MunaTo: Sarangani’s cultural festival is back
Photo by Cocoy Sexcion taken during the 2012 MunaTo Festival's Street Dancing Competition 

The 20th MunaTo Festival is celebrated face-to-face this year after being held virtually the last two years. The MunaTo Festival 2022 has a theme – “Ikaw, Ako, MunaTo Tayo,” which runs from November 25 to 28, 2022.

This year’s MunaTo Festival has jump-packed activities that would showcase the diverse cultural traditions of the province, honoring the province’s tri-people community that includes the Moro people, the Indigenous People, and the Christian settlers.

Sarangani Governor Rogelio “Ruel” Pacquiao said that this year’s celebration “is very significant” for him because this would be his first celebration in his first term as the governor.

Governor Pacquiao said that the Munato Festival 2022 will be a “fun, exciting, more colorful and an all-inclusive celebration.” The event is also one of the ways to attract investors as it showcases the best in Sarangani.

MunaTo: Sarangani’s cultural festival is back
Governor Ruel Pacquiao invited the local media about MunaTo Festival during the press conference held on November 23, 2022. Photo from Gov. Pacquiao FB page

The said event is also the 30th Foundation Anniversary of the province. Sarangani was born through the efforts of then Congressman James L. Chiongbian in 1992, by passing of the Republic Act 7228 (An Act Creating the Province of Sarangani). The province was part of the 3rd District of South Cotabato. It became a separate province on May 19, 1992.

MunaTo Festival was coined from two Blaan words – “Muna” and “To”, which means “first people.”

The anthropomorphic jars found in the caves of Maitum (Ayub, Pinol and Sagel), gave clues to early history of Mindanao and the Philippines as a whole.

The carbon dated anthropomorphic jars depict that Maitum was the home of early civilization dating back to the Metal age. The original jars are currently in the National Museum for safekeeping and exhibition. While its replicas are being displayed in the Municipal Building of Maitum.

Based on the historical timeline of the early history of the Philippines, after the Tabon Cave in Palawan, the next earliest pottery is found in Pinol Cave. Thus, the claim that in Mindanao, the First People or "Muna To," possibly came from Maitum, Sarangani Province.

The MunaTo Festival was conceptualized in 2002 that anchored on the idea to create a cultural festival that would celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Sarangani. It has been celebrated annually that features the seven municipalities of the province and presenting the best in each town.

The 20th MunaTo Festival runs from November 25 to 28, 2022, at the Provincial Capitol Ground, Alabel, Sarangani Province.

MunaTo Festival 2022