Naliyagan Festival is a cultural and historical festival and founding anniversary celebration held in the province of Agusan del Sur every 17th of June. It honors Manobo people who resides in the interior lands and the cultural heritage of the different towns of the province. A six-day festivity, it starts with a commemoration of the country’s independence as well as an anniversary of its establishment as a province.
History of Naliyagan Festival
Naliyagan Festival comes from naliyagan, a word in Manobo language that translates to “the chosen one”. It was organized within the term of governor Democrito O. Plaza who, in consultation with Manobo leader Datu Lipus Makapandong and other tribal chieftains, dedicated a festival in celebration of their ethnic culture, customs, and tradition.
The first Naliyagan Festival was held in 1993. Additionally, it was a province-wide initiative as a toast to diversity and cultural heritage of the people of Agusan del Sur. It draws participation from its city and municipalities, which send their representatives to join many activities and their products to the annual trade fair.
Moreover, Naliyagan Festival is a founding anniversary celebration. The province was in earlier times part of Surigao until it became an independent province by virtue of Act No. 1693 on August 20, 1907. It was further divided into Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur upon the enactment of Republic Act No. 4979 on June 17, 1967. On the other hand, Agusan del Norte also observes founding anniversary called Araw ng Agusan.
In addition, the festival starts every 12th of June, the nation-wide observance of Independence Day.
Naliyagan Festival was put on hold due to coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
Naliyagan Festival Schedule of Activities
Naliyagan Festival’s schedule is indeed filled to the brim with activities, some of which are oriented towards providing avenues for continuous delivery of public services and job fairs. There are also many cultural, entertainment, and variety shows such as local bands, music acts, fireworks display, and other fun activities. Likewise, competitions are opened in sports and performing arts.
Here are some of the biggest highlights.
Aedow/Aldaw Tu Mgo Tribong AgSurnon
Aedow/Aldaw Tu Mgo Tribong AgSurnon is the day that is committed to celebrating the customs and traditions of ethnic minorities in Agusan del Sur. According to an ethnographic study conducted by Abraham L. Masendo, the province has five distinct indigenous groups: Agusan Manobo, Aeta, Bagobo, Banwaon, and Mamanwa. This activity gives them the space, platform, and opportunity to showcase the pride and richness of their ethnic culture.
Agro-Industrial Fair is an activity that is open from the start to the end of the festival. It proudly puts on display products that are created and manufactured by citizens of Agusan del Sur. Other items on display are handicrafts, home fixtures, woven objects, and food products.
Bae Naliyanagan translates the chosen woman. It is a prestigious beauty pageant for females, and it is also known as Miss Agusan del Sur. Each of the localities in the province send in their best candidate for the competition. Winner is chosen as the best candidate who embodies beauty and talent, and then she becomes the province’s “ambassadress of goodwill.”
Binaga tu Naliyagan
Binaga tu Naliyagan is a food fest. At its center is haloan, a type of mudfish that is found in Agusan Marsh. The event is characterized by a long line made of grilling stations cooking the fish on bed of hot coals.
Independence Day is the start of the entire Naliyagan Festival. Observed in the 12th of June, it is the national day that remembers Philippines’ secession and independence from Spain. Activities generally include flag-raising rite, the singing of the national anthem, and opening ceremonies to kick off the festival
State of the Province
State of the Province is a speech delivered by the governor. It generally outlines the history, updates, and future plans of the local government and how far the province has gone in terms of progress and development.
Street Dancing Competition and Finale Showdown
Street Dancing Competition and Finale Showdown, as the name suggests, is a competition for contingents who join street dancing. The contingents are representatives of the municipalities and city of the province. They bring with them cultural festivals, and visitors can see tribal elements incorporated into the performances.
Where to go
Most activities happen in Prosperidad, the capital of Agusan del Sur. Events are also slotted in in Agusan del Sur Heritage Center, Datu Lipus Makapandong Cultural Center, Naliyagan Grounds, sports venues, indoor activity centers, Sports Complex, Covered Court, and different locations.
How to reach Agusan del Sur
Agusan del Sur can be reached via Butuan Airport or Surigao Airport. Ferry trips are available in the sea ports of surrounding provinces. From these points, one can take bus trips to Agusan del Sur.
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