The Pakaradyan Festival: A Feast of Culture and Gratitude
The Philippines is a country with diverse cultures and traditions, and one of the most unique and festive events that showcases its history and heritage is the Pakaradyan Festival. The Pakaradyan Festival is an annual festival that takes place every June in the municipality of Malapatan, Sarangani province, in the southern part of the Philippines. The festival celebrates the culture and tradition of the Maguindanaon people, one of the major ethnic groups in Mindanao. The festival also features various activities and events that express gratitude and devotion to Allah, the supreme being in Islam.
The word “Pakaradyan” comes from the Maguindanaon word for “festivity” or “celebration”. The festival reflects the festive spirit and cheerful disposition of the Maguindanaon people, who are known for their hospitality and generosity. The festival also showcases the talents and skills of the locals in various fields such as arts, music, sports, and cuisine.
The origin of the festival can be traced back to 2006, when then mayor Alfonso Singcoy initiated it as a way of promoting Malapatan as a tourist destination and showcasing its potential for development. The festival was also inspired by the history of Malapatan, which was established as a settlement by the Maguindanaon people who migrated from Cotabato province in search of a peaceful and prosperous place to live. The festival aims to commemorate this historical event and celebrate the diversity and unity of Malapatan.
The festival today is a week-long celebration that culminates on June 21st, which is also referred to as Bangsamoro Day or Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan. It features various events and activities that showcase the culture and heritage of Malapatan, such as art exhibits, musical performances, cultural shows, food fairs, and other contests. The highlight of the festival is the Guinakit sa Suguda or Fluvial Parade, which is a procession of colorful boats carrying images or replicas of Islamic symbols or personalities along the Sarangani Bay. The parade also includes an image of Muhammad Nassefh Macla, a young poet from Malapatan who won several national awards for his poems about Islam and peace.
The festival is not only a feast for the eyes, but also for the taste buds. Visitors can enjoy various delicacies that are unique to Malapatan or Sarangani province, such as tilapia (freshwater fish), tuna (saltwater fish), chicken inasal (grilled chicken), piaya (flatbread with muscovado filling), napoleones (puff pastry with custard filling), barquillos (rolled wafers), ibos (rice cake wrapped in coconut leaves), suman latik (sticky rice cake with coconut syrup), kinilaw (raw fish marinated in vinegar and spices), lechon (roasted pig), sisig (chopped meat seasoned with calamansi juice and chili peppers), kakanin (rice cakes), pansit habhab (noodles eaten without utensils), Lucban longganisa (Filipino-style sausages), hardinera (meatloaf), broas (ladyfingers), tikoy (sticky rice cake), espasol (rice cake rolled in coconut flakes), bagoong (fermented fish paste), alaminos longganisa (garlic-flavored sausages), calasiao puto (steamed rice cake), tupig (grilled rice cake wrapped in banana leaves), pigar-pigar (stir-fried beef with cabbage), binungey (sticky rice cooked in bamboo tubes), and bangus sisig (chopped milkfish seasoned with calamansi juice and chili peppers). They can also buy souvenirs made from wood, silver, beads, or kiping (leaf-shaped wafer).
The Pakaradyan Festival is not only a celebration of culture and tradition, but also a celebration of faith and gratitude. It is a way of preserving and promoting the traditions and values of Malapatan and its people. It is also a way of showcasing the beauty and diversity of Sarangani province and Mindanao island.