T‘nalak Festival is South Cotabato’s anniversary celebration held every July. The festival’s name is attributed to that piece of colorful cloth called T’nalak, woven by the local T’boli women. The T’bolis comprises one of the indigenous people of South Cotabato.
T'nalak Festival is South Cotabato's anniversary celebration held every July. The festival’s name is attributed to that piece of colorful cloth called T'nalak, woven by the local T’boli women
The celebration is weeklong, from July 10-18, 2016 and a lot of activities are happening each day. Apart from the Dept of Tourism Region 12 night where Silek Musical Ensemble performed, I only saw the street dancing part of T’nalak Festival. A pitiful show up for me considering this is the first time I’m going to shoot this festival and that the location of performance is just 20 minutes away from my home city!
An opportunity to shoot popped when I got my “photographer’s id” so I showed up during the street dancing part. I wasn’t able to to withstand the searing heat during the field demo part so I left after the 3rd contesting group performer.
I’ll leave the critical appraisal of the performances and cultural dress to experts. Off hand, here’s some of what I noticed.
1. T’nalak festival is teaming with beautiful faces in cultural dresses. They may not be truly indigenous but, they still came or live in South Cotabato.
2. There’s diversity in the local community, as depicted in some performances.
3. Seeing more younger performers.
4. Paucity of the indigenous, “older” performers.
5. Spectacular T’nalak dresses and designs.
6. More complex backdrops and group performances.
Of course I may be biased towards faithfulness to indigenous culture and traditions since this festival is anchored on an indigenous icon- the T’nalak. But, I’m truly amazed by the performance and the performers and how they strive to perform par with the expectations of the public.
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