Lum’alay Festival: A Celebration of Ethnic Offering and Bountiful Harvest in Tampakan
Lum’alay Festival is an annual event that celebrates the ethnic offering and bountiful harvest of the people of Tampakan, a municipality in the province of South Cotabato in the Philippines. The festival is held every June, coinciding with the municipal foundation anniversary of Tampakan on June 18. The word Lum’alay comes from the Blaan language, which is spoken by one of the indigenous tribes in Tampakan. It means “to offer” or “to give”. The festival is a way of expressing gratitude and reverence to the supreme being Melu and the spirits of nature for the abundant harvest of coconut, corn, and rice, which are the main crops of Tampakan.
The festival features the rich and diverse culture and traditions of the various ethnic groups that inhabit Tampakan, such as the Blaan, B’laan, Tagabili, Maguindanaon, Ilonggo, Cebuano, and Tagalog. The festival is marked by culturally enriching, meaningful, and exciting events that attract thousands of local and foreign tourists every year.
One of the main highlights of Lum’alay Festival is the Ingkil-Ingkil or the street dancing competition. This event depicts the culture, values, and traditions of Tampakan through colorful costumes, accessories, and musical instruments made from natural materials. The performers parade along the streets of Tampakan while gracefully dancing to the beat of gongs, drums, flutes, and bamboo zithers. The dances also tell stories of the town’s history, such as the arrival of the first settlers, the establishment of the salt industry, and the reign of peace and harmony among the different tribes.
Another highlight is the Tamfaken Lum’alay or the ethnic ritual demonstration. This event showcases the sacred ceremonies that are usually done in private or secluded places by the tribal leaders and elders. These rituals include the pangampo (prayer), panalawahig (offering), panumanod (spirit quest), panlisig (rite of passage), panalawag (peace pact), and panlibatuhan (wedding). The rituals are meant to invoke the blessings and protection of Melu and the spirits of nature for the people of Tampakan.
Other activities that celebrate the ethnic offering and bountiful harvest of Tampakan include the Agri-Tourism Trade Fair, where visitors can buy and taste various products made by the local farmers, fisherfolk, and entrepreneurs. Some of the products include salt, dried fish, rice cakes, coconut wine, honey, coffee, fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, and souvenirs. The trade fair also showcases the town’s ecotourism attractions, such as the white sand beaches, waterfalls, caves, mangrove forests, coral reefs, and marine sanctuaries.
Other activities that celebrate the ethnic offering and bountiful harvest of Tampakan include the Cultural Night, where different groups perform songs, dances, dramas, and other forms of entertainment; the Search for Mutya ng Tampakan, where beautiful and talented ladies compete for the title of Miss Tampakan; the Fluvial Parade, where decorated boats sail along the coast to honor the patron saint of fishermen; and the Thanksgiving Mass, where people express their gratitude to God for all the blessings they have received.
Lum’alay Festival is a rare opportunity to witness and experience the ethnic offering and bountiful harvest of Tampakan. It is a celebration of their resilience, diversity, and unity as a people. It is also a reminder of their valuable contribution to the Philippine society and nationhood.