a journal on hiking and traveling around the Philippines

Mt. Pulag's Akiki-Ambangeg Trai

A day hike to Luzon island's highest peak

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tawi-Tawi Series : Kamahardikaan Tawi-Tawi & Agal-Agal Festival

Every September, Tawi-Tawi celebrates Kamahardikaan, its anniversary as a province. Held on the same week is Agal-Agal Festival, which highlights the province's top product, agal-agal, the local word for seaweed. On its 44th year,  the municipality of Languyan played host, about an hour away by speedboat from Bongao, the provincial capital. This being my first visit to Tawi-Tawi, I was very excited and didn't mind the arduous travel to get here, about 15 hours of air, land and sea travel from Manila! 
Contingent from Bongao wins 3rd place
Together with fellow bloggers and traditional media from Mindanao, we covered various activities during the five day celebration,  showcasing the culture & history of the  Sama, Badjao, Jama Mapun and Tausug, the four major indigenous groups in Tawi-Tawi. 

Related Post : Zamboanga-Basilan birthday trip (this post was written 2011, I was more hyperactive back then :P)

One of the festival's highlights was the parade and the street dancing competition. This year, it was participated by 9 of the 11 municipalities of the province with each contender presenting a glimpse of their traditions through dance, music and their costumes. Having limited knowledge on traditional dances, my level of appreciation was at a basic level - how I felt while watching the performances. Most of the performances were engaging and I was in awe after witnessing the pangalay for the first time. Pangalay is a traditional dance by the Tausug in the Sulu Archipelago and Sabah (Malaysia). Characterized by graceful movements of the fingers, elbows, shoulders and wrists, it resembles a form of martial arts in the Malay archipelago (Source : EDC Dance Company)

One of my companions who studied pangalay,Travel Trilogy,  did a better job of explaining their performances. Check out his post here.

Here's a snippet of Sapa-Sapa's performance at the 44th Agal-Agal Festival.  

The top three winners were Sapa-sapa (1st pace), Simunul (2nd place) and Bongao (3rd place). Each won 1 Million Pesos in cash and 5 Million Pesos worth of project for their respective municipality. Whoa! 
Participants from Languyan 
More info about the festival here :  Ironwulf.Net |  Tawi-tawi Agal-Agal Festival 2017 at Languyan     

Next year's Kamahardikaan & Agal-Agal Festival will be in Sitangkai. About 6 hours from Bongao by boat, it is famous for its stilt houses and a community surrounding a canal, somehow reminiscent to the popular waterway  in Venice, Italy. 

More festival photos here.

Related Post : Hiking Bud Bongao

Tawi-Tawi boasts of  beautiful mosques,  white sand beaches, peace-loving, kind people and good coffee.  Unfortunately, its reputation is marred by reports of kidnapping and the stigma of  being part of ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao), a section of southern the Philippines with a long history of conflict. It is also included in a Travel advisory for US Citizens (read here).  The local government wishes to change that. To travel  to Tawi-Tawi safely, please get in touch with the following :
Provincial Tourism Office of Tawi-Tawi
Mr. Mobin Gampal (PTO Officer)
Contact number: +63 977 230 9061
Email Address: pto_tawitawi@yahoo.com
Facebook Page : PTO Tawi-Tawi
Facebook Page : Department of Tourism - ARMM 

Tawi-Tawi Travel Guide by The Lakwatsero here.
Related blog : Celineism | Tawi-Tawi's Colorful Agal-Agal Festival

NOTE : This trip was made possible by the Department of Tourism - ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) headed by Secretary Ayesha Dilangalen. Thanks again for bringing us here, it's a dream come true!




Monday, October 2, 2017

Travel News : Starting the Christmas Vibe withTaiwan Excellence

Last September 29 - October 1, a showcase of Taiwan's best brands was held at the SM Mall of Asia Main Atrium. Taiwan Excellence Experience Zone 2 featured products which has earned the Taiwan Excellence seal.  

Sponsored by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT), Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) organizes the Taiwan Excellence campaign to promote innovative and superior-quality products, and encourage Taiwan innovators to continue transforming current technologies.
Travel info on Taiwan? Read : Poor Traveler | Taiwan on a budget  

In this 3-day event, Taiwan Excellence brought its sports and leisure products to the spotlight. Visitors got a first-hand experience of products that maximize active lifestyles, such as the Johnson S3+ Spinner Bike, which parallels the rigors of a spinning workout, while at home. Meanwhile, a Revolution Tri-Max Fabric can be the perfect gift for your athletic and sporty friends (See related post, Gift Ideas for Outdoor Lovers). This suit is made from special super-stretch fiber to support muscle, boost performance and reduce body soreness after exercise.

There’s also a plethora of options for the ride you and your loved ones have been looking for — the Verge X10, with its ultra-light wheels getting you places in style, the Strida LT making riding, carrying and storing your bike superbly convenient, as it folds in 5 seconds tops, or a Kymco Xciting 400 motorcycle,which makes riders feel completely safe, while enjoying the pleasures of driving. 

Beyond the booths and presentations, the 3-day event gathered the thrill-seeking crowds for activities, performances, fashion shows, games, and raffle draws.

The first 50 registrants qualified for a draw to win a signed basketball from the one and only, Philippine Basketball Association player Doug Kramer. The Gosiengfiao Sisters (October 1) also made an appearance, while other performers included Angeline Quinto (September 29), 4th Impact (September 30), Inigo Pascual (October 1), and the Judy’s Harmonica Ensemble.

About Taiwan Excellence
The symbol of Taiwan Excellence honors Taiwan’s most innovative products that provide tremendous value to users worldwide. All products carrying this symbol have been selected for specific Taiwan Excellence Awards based on their excellence in design, quality, marketing, Taiwanese R&D, and manufacturing. Started by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), R.O.C. in 1992, the symbol of Taiwan Excellence is recognized by 101 countries.

NOTE : Post is from a press release.

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