Inaul Festival: Celebrating the Colorful Fabric of Maguindanao
The Inaul Festival is a cultural and religious festival held every February 14 in Buluan, the capital of Maguindanao del Sur, a province in the island of Mindanao.
The festival celebrates the inaul tradition of hand-weaving colorful fabric that is a symbol of the Maguindanaoan people. The word inaul means “woven” in the local language.
The fabric is made from cotton, rayon, or silk threads that are dyed with assorted colors, wrapped with banana leaves, and sun-dried. The weaving is done using a backstrap wooden loom or a hand loom.
The fabric is characterized by elaborate designs and motifs that reflect the stories and feelings of the weavers. Some designs are reserved for people of noble lineage or royalty. The colors also have meanings, such as black for nobility, green for peace, white for purity, and yellow and orange for royalty.
The fabric is traditionally used to make malong, a wrap-around dress that can be worn by men and women. It can also be used to make other garments and accessories such as kerchiefs, bags, shawls, scarves, bed sheets, pillowcases, and table runners.
The festival was launched in 2017 to replace the Sagayan Festival, which was registered by another province at the Department of Tourism. The festival aims to promote the inaul weaving industry, foster peace and harmony among different groups in the province, and showcase the rich and diverse culture and heritage of Maguindanao.
The festival features various activities such as street dance competitions, fashion shows, trade fairs, musical concerts, sports events, chavacano song festival, Miss Maguindanao pageant, and the Regatta de Zamboanga, which is a race of colorful vintas (traditional sailboats).
The highlight of the festival is the nine-day novena and procession of Our Lady of Lourdes, the patroness of Maguindanao del Sur, on her feast day, February 14. Thousands of devotees gather to pay homage and seek blessings from the Virgin.