THE famed T’nalak Festival of South Cotabato province, one of Mindanao’s major festivals, formally opened yesterday to once again showcase its unique and diverse cultural heritage and promote the business and tourism potentials of the area.
A colourful and lively thematic parade in the main streets here in the morning, witnessed by thousands of people, signalled the opening of the festival that will run for eight days.
The T’nalak Festival is now on its 15th year. It will culminate on July 18, the province’s 48th founding anniversary.
South Cotabato governor Daisy Avance Fuentes led the formal opening of the festival, which was named after a cloth made by the T’boli tribe.
T’nalak is a dream-inspired fabric woven by women members of the T’boli tribe using abaca fibers intricately designed with natural dyes.
Fuentes noted that meticulous preparations, in consultations with various stakeholders in the province, were made to ensure the success of the festival, which this year promises to be a grand and lively celebration more than ever.
“We have shown to ourselves and to our people that if we work together, there is no limit to what we can achieve. Today, our people have shown novel ideas that we can be proud to the world,” she said.
Fuentes was referring to the thematic parade, which is the first time to be introduced to the T’nalak Festival where contingents paraded with certain themes, such as on agriculture.
Fuentes invited local and foreign tourists to join the festivities to savour the best that the province can offer.
Philippine Senator Cynthia Villar, the invited guest speaker, described the T’nalak Festival as “a reflection of the vibrant and dynamic spirit of South Cotabato and its people”.
“It is also a reflection of your uniqueness and unity as a people, which you can be proud of and share to the world,” she said.
For the duration of the festival, tourists may dine out and drink in the T’nalak strip that features live bands, shop for locally made products or marvel at the bahay kubo (thatched houses) representing the province’s 10 towns and this lone city.
There will also be a plant fair, techno trade exhibit, beauty pageant, motorcross competition and other sporting event in the duration of the festival, among other activities.
During the culmination on July 18, a street dancing cultural showdown in the morning and a street party in the night await the tourists.
Stricter security will be observed in the duration of the festival, with uniformed police and military personnel manning strategic locations to ensure the safety of revellers.
Police Senior Superintendent Jose Briones, provincial police commander, said at least 313 policemen will be rotationally deployed in various locations for round-the-clock duties.
The Brunei Times
Sat, 12 July 2014