Bulusan Fiesta 2013: Colors and smiles from the DLC event

Bulusan Fiesta

The Drum and Lyre Competition participated by the schools in the elementary and high school levels was the most colorful and most watched event in the recently concluded Bulusan Fiesta (July 24-25, 2013) celebrations. I purposely did not cover the main action of the competition but instead focused my attention in the periphery of the event venue where the participants were more relax and in the mood of being photographed. The audience too was an interesting bunch mostly coming from the different villages of the municipality who flocked to the Poblacion to witness the various events of the fiesta.

Extra side attractions  to the event were the motley assortment of vendors in the vicinity with merchandise that includes colorful balloons,  faux jewelry to neon colored ‘sisiw’ (chicks). The latter can be had via a ‘kitkitan’ – a sort of lottery sticker indicating a win or lose anyone can bet for one peso each.

Photographs by Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

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Viva Señor Santiago!

Viva Señor Santiago!

Most recent photo of the Patron Saint of Bulusan taken during the vesperas procession in Bulusan, July 24, 2013.

Viva Señor Santiago!
Happy Fiesta, Bulusan!

Bulusan fiesta celebration as a big cultural event for Bulusanons was articulately documented on  this site: http://pamughaton.wordpress.com/2008/07/18/pista/.  It is  for me the most detailed Bulusan fiesta description ever written – almost an ethnographic Bulusan fiesta portrait.  It is complete in itself.  It remains true today. My photo (above )only  updates the scene but the essence remains the same.

Photo: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Chickoy Pura’s ‘homecoming’ concert

Chickoy Pura's 'homecoming' concert

Speaking in the dialect with perfect inflection as if he had never left town at all, Chickoy Pura was in his element in theBulusan gig July 23, 2013 he dubbed as ‘sugad sin homecoming concert’ ( like a homecoming concert). “Pirmi man ako nag-uuli, pero niyan lang ako nag-uli na an tuyo iba man – matugtog.” (Several times I visited our hometown, but this is the first time that my visit has a different purpose – to do this concert).

Obviously in a talking mood Chickoy even reminisced his basketball days, ‘san panahon mi’ (during our time) with the competing barangays in the poblacion…but he reminded himself to shorten his ‘talk’ and start the music rolling. He started with ‘Tambol’ that he likened to the local town crier in his village in Buhang that surprisingly he can still remember the name – Inoy Doro Gabrentina, the ‘parabayabay’ (town crier in the dialect). With this endearing  intro the music started with great energy that lasted the whole night.

My verdict: Chickoy Pura’s music is timeless. His music and performance still carry the intensity of his own brand of Pinoy rock wonder. He is  indeed a Bulusan pride.  As a veteran of rock concert events – I am confident in saying that Chickoy is in the league of Pinoy rock greats.  And an added bonus: Chickoy Pura still looks great on stage after all these years!

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Photos : Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Ms. Bulusan Tourism 2013

Ms. Bulusan Tourism 2013

Ms. Bulusan Tourism 2013

The images no doubt are convincing enough. This Bulusan native is a beauty. She hails from San Vicente, Bulusan and presently pursuing her college studies at the Divine Word College, Legazpi City.

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Photos: Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Of hunks and flowers in Bulusan

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Local flowers and ornamental plants provide an elegant backdrop for the pageant

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Contestants introduce themselves during the July 20, 2013 ‘beauty’ and brains search in Bulusan.

The pageant for the local hunks of Bulusan was conducted in a descent and fun manner, thanks to the organizers. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive when I heard about the event prior because of the event ‘title’ and the winner eventually being called Mr. Pretty Boy of Bulusan. I am sure these contestants are more capable than just being ‘pretty’.

Nonetheless, for a quiet and slow rural town like Bulusan, events like these are pleasant welcome diversions for the residents provided that these are conducted wholesomely with utmost consideration to the audience which cuts across all ages – in short  it must pass the general patronage rating.

The entertainment was well prepared and the pacing kept us awake except for some kids beside me. The judges were mostly from the newly elected kagawads (councilors) adding wholesome points to the night’s event. The wife of the newly elected Municipal Mayor also graced the competition.

I enjoyed the show not only  because of the entertainment numbers and the good-looking guys confidently strutting on stage – youth and beauty representing the new faces of Bulusan town but mainly because of the tastefully adorned stage.

The stage set-up  was so elegant (for a rural pageant standards) and the choice of flowers was marvelous. The installation of the flowers was so impressive that this morning I was asking around who did the stage design and installations.

The answer I got was that the stage design was a collective effort. But I was not completely convinced. I have to know the name of the  installation artist in charge. To answer my query,  I looked for Mr.  Aga Fuga, overall coordinator of the show. He informed me that Marco Banares did the flower  installations with the help of his whole team. In this tropical themed installation (photos), all flowers and materials were sourced locally.

Congratulations to your team, Mr. Aga Fuga and Mr. Marco Banares!  Ah, wait. I have a suggestion though: Please revise the title of Mr. Pretty boy for the winner of this competition to Mr. Bulusan Ecotourism Ambassador 🙂

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Photos: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Most Extraordinary Karagumoy Hat

Most Extra-ordinary Karagumoy Hat

This karagumoy hat may appear as just another utility hat, the same hat  that farmers and workers use daily in the field to shield them from the harsh tropical sun. But wait until you see the weaver.

The weaver of this hat is completely blind.

Maria was born blind. She hails from the mountain village of Kapangihan in Bulusan.

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Maria from the village of Kapangihan finishes off first in the hat weaving contest under the special category of the Bulusan Livelihood Skills Competition, July 18, 2013.

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Photos: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Karagumoy hat version 2

Interesting  take on the karagumoy hat

A Karagumoy hat with a twist.

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Another Livelihood skills contest that caught my curiosity is the karagumoy weaving skills contest held also at the Bulusan Auditorium grounds on the same day as the Pili nut deshelling competition.

Several villages were also represented by their skilled weavers most of whom brought with them finished hats, bags, bay’ong and assorted items that were purposely made to showcase their level of weaving skills aside from the familiar and the ordinary fare of the common utility hat and the common baskets locally known as bay’ong. Most interesting is that these weavers actually wove  on the spot from start to finish in the said contest giving opportunity for those less skilled to personally see the techniques employed by the skilled weavers participating in the event. Fortunately, I was able to record the different styles of weave showcased and shared by the contestants to be shared also in my succeeding posts.

Meanwhile, this post is about the quaint karagumoy hat (photo) donned by one of the weavers who later notices that I was snapping photos of her hat.  At this point, she just  looked at me with a welcome and friendly smile (photo) indicating that she too was pleased that somebody has noticed her work.

Her hat style is different from the common karagumoy utility hat that can be seen almost everywhere in Bulusan. This hat is a souvenir item kind of hat. The workmanship is neat with smaller karagumoy strips and the weaving style has a personalized touch.

Karagumoy weaving contest

The event : Karagumoy weaving contest, July 18, 2013

Photos: Alma P. Gamil
Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Pili Magic

Pili Magic

Kristina Freo from the village of Santa Barbara is the fastest ‘paratilad’ i.e. pili nut de-sheller in Bulusan’s Livelihood Skills showdown, July 18, 2013.

The contest held yesterday morning at the Bulusan Auditorium was not the usual contest. It has the simplest rule however- to open 100 pieces of the stone-hard shell of the pili i.e. pili nut shells, ‘lagting’ in the dialect within the shortest period of time and retrieve  the precious pili kernels still intact.

I waited in anticipation as the participants mostly women lined up their tools : a simple bolo, a ‘tuktokan’ of sturdy wood.

Twelve women  of different ages representing their villages whacked the pili nut shells in rhythmic movement and sound that lasted only for a few minutes after the go signal was given.

As I predicted, the contestant from the village with the most number of standing and oldest pili trees finished first.

Kristina Freo, 35, from the village of Santa Barbara finishes off first at the speed of 5 minutes and 14 seconds for the 100 pieces of pili nut ‘lagting’.

In a real ‘tiriladan’ (the local term for pili de-shelling) setting, she can finish 2 to 4 Bmeg sacks of pili nut deshelling job in a day, she related to me after the contest.

Bulusan is the highest Pili nut producing municipality in the Province of Sorsogon and most probably in the entire region/country. Total production is more than 714 tons of pili nuts per year according to the City Planning and Development Office of Sorsogon City. This comprises more than a third of the total production in the province.

Note: In a briefer about the Pili Industry in the Bicol Region, the Department of Trade and Industry 5 (DTI) emphasized the importance of skilled pili nut de-shellers.  It reads: “Retrieving a perfect Pili kernel requires precision only human hands can deliver.”

Related post: http://bulusanvirtualtour.blogspot.com/2012/11/how-to-get-pili-kernels-out-of-hard.html

Recommended read about a Pili confectionery maker in Bulusan: http://pamughaton.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/paradulsi/

Photos: Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines

Have rains, will shoot!

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“The Philippines has a tropical climate dominated by rainy and dry seasons. The mean annual average temperature is about 27° C. The hottest months are April, May and June with average temperatures ranging from 27.8 to 28.4° C. The coldest months are December, January and February with average temperature ranging from 26.1° C to as low as 25.5° C.”

“The Philippines is divided into four climatic types, depending on how rainfall is distributed throughout the year.

  • Type 1 – Two pronounced seasons, wet and dry, with maximum rain period from June to September and a dry season which lasts from 3 to 6 months.
  • Type II – No dry season, with a very pronounced maximum rain period that occurs in December and January.
  • Type III – Not very pronounced maximum rain period, with a short dry season lasting from 1 to 3 months.
  • Type IV – Rainfall more or less distributed throughout the year.

“Most of the eastern parts of the archipelago have Type II climate, having no pronounced dry season with rainfall maximum from November to January. Rainfall in these areas is due to both large-scale precipitation during the southwest monsoon season and orographic precipitation during the Pacific trade winds and northeast monsoon season.”  ~ Climate Types in the Philippines, FAO

Bulusan has a Type II climate being located in the Bicol Region.

It simply means enjoy the rains for it is here to stay. Bear the maximum though but relish the minimum rainfall days because most of the time these are beautiful sunny days! Good morning!

Photos: Alma P. Gamil

Bulusan, Sorsogon, Philippines