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Seslong Festival: A Celebration of Bartering and Ethnicity in T’Boli

March 05, 2024 - March 16, 2024

Seslong Festival is an annual event that celebrates the culture, history, and tradition of bartering among the people of T’Boli, a municipality in the province of South Cotabato in the Philippines. The festival is held every March, coinciding with the founding anniversary of T’Boli on March 16. The word Seslong comes from the T’boli language, which means “a place where people gather to barter goods” The festival showcases the unique ethnicity and heritage of the T’boli people, who are known for their colorful costumes, intricate beadwork, brass ornaments, and musical instruments.

The festival aims to promote the value of bartering as a way of exchanging goods and services without using money. Bartering is an ancient practice that has been preserved by the T’boli people for centuries. It is a form of social interaction that fosters friendship, cooperation, and mutual respect among the participants. It also reflects the simplicity, generosity, and resourcefulness of the T’boli people, who use their skills and creativity to produce various products from natural materials.

The festival features various activities that highlight the culture and tradition of bartering among the T’boli people. One of the main highlights is the Seslong Parade, where different groups of T’boli performers parade along the streets of T’Boli wearing their traditional attire and carrying their products for bartering. They also play their musical instruments such as gongs, drums, flutes, and bamboo zithers. The parade ends at the Seslong Center, where the actual bartering takes place.

Another highlight is the Seslong Trade Fair, where visitors can buy and sell various products made by the T’boli people using bartering or cash. 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 eco-cultural tourism attractions, such as the Lake Holon, Lake Sebu, Bakngeb River Cave, Hidak Falls, and Tboli Museum.

Other activities that celebrate the culture and tradition of bartering among the T’boli people include the Cultural Night, where different groups perform songs, dances, dramas, and other forms of entertainment; the Search for Mutya ng T’Boli, where beautiful and talented ladies compete for the title of Miss T’Boli; the Fluvial Parade, where decorated boats sail along the lake 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.

Seslong Festival is a rare opportunity to witness and experience the culture and tradition of bartering among the T’boli people. 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.

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March 5
March 16


Tboli, Province of South Cotabato.
Tboli South Cotabato Philippines + Google Map