Pakaradjaan Basilan is an annual cultural festival in the province of Basilan, Philippines held every 7th of March. It is a weeks-long festivity that starts in the last week of February. It was created by the provincial government to present a more positive and inviting image of Basilan, the largest island in Sulu located in the southernmost part of the country. The festival is also known as Tennun Pakaradjaan Basilan.
History of Pakaradjaan Basilan
Pakaradjaan Basilan comes from the word pakaradjaan, a word that in the languages of the Tausug and Yakan means merry-making. Through many of the various revelries that are slotted within its week-long calendar, it is hoped that the island gains a favorable reputation as a prime tourist attraction, a place of abundant natural resources, and for its unique local culture.
The festival is also a jubilation for the establishment of the province. Basilan has a long, storied past. It has always been known as a conduit for migration and exploration. Its first mention by the Spaniards was by Antonio Pigafetta who sailed back to Europe with the remaining ships of the Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition after Magellan’s demise in Mactan, Cebu.
Part of Zamboanga starting 1936, it became a city with the enactment of Republic Act No. 288. On December 27, 1973, it was granted the status of a province through Presidential Decree No. 356. Inaugural rites where public officials took oath to be formally installed to their respective offices occurred on March 7, 1974. Hence, it is the date that becomes the basis of the founding anniversary celebration.
The first Pakaradjaan Basilan was held in 2011. In 2020, some activities were cancelled owing from the coronavirus pandemic.
Considered a great cultural heritage, tennun is the name of the woven fabric made by Yakan people. It is described by National Commission for Culture and the Arts as “eye-catching and colorful textiles with tiny motifs.” The most famous tennun weaver was Ambalang Ausalin from Parangbasak, Lamitan City. She was conferred the National Living Treasure (Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan) award in 2016. Yakans have a very strong weaving tradition, where these handwoven cloths are part and parcel of their way of life.
Pakaradjaan Basilan Schedule of Activities
Pakaradjaan Basilan is packed with many different activities. It gives space to sporting events in fun run, basketball, volleyball, bowling, badminton, dart, and shootfest. Furthermore, at times there are competitions such as in kite flying, photo exhibits, job fairs, medical-dental mission, Barangay Night, Governor’s Night, Basilan Night, Founding Anniversary Program, etc.
Here are some of the highlights.
Cultural Parade occurs in the last day of the festival. It is participated by various local government units, localities, government agencies, organizations, local businesses, schools, and other institutions.
Masaganang Basileño is also known as indigenous people’s day. Basilan’s population is comprised of Yakans, Tausugs, Chavacano, Samal, and other minorities. Various cultural presentations are organized and showed to give tribute to vibrant ethnic customs and tradition such as Tara Na Sa Basilan.
Mussah Si Pakaradjaan
Mussah Si Pakaradjaan translates Pearl of the Festivities. It is a prestigious search for female role models who embody intelligence, beauty, and spirituality.
Trade Fair is part of the festival where products that are proudly locally made are on display. Booths are designated according to municipalities and their design are entries to the best booth competition. People can buy various novelty item, woven fabric, fruits and vegetables.
Where to go
Most activities occur in Isabela City such as BNHS Grandstand and Provincial Capitol. There are activities that occur in other places of the island.
How to reach Basilan
One can book a flight bound for Zamboanga International Airport. Ferry schedules are available from Zamboanga City to either Lamitan City or Isabela City.
- Pakaradjaan Basilan happening this February 26-March 7, see schedule of activities. February 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Dureza bats for peace culture at Basilan’s Pakaradjaan fest. Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace, Reconciliation, and Unity. March 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Basilan: Brief Profile. Bangsamoro. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Republic Act No. 288: An Act Creating the City of Basilan. Supreme Court E-Library. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Presidential Decree No. 356, s. 1973. Official Gazette. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Yakans Dominated Basilan. Philippine Statistics Office. April 18, 2002. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Gunting-Al Hadj, Ayunan. Basilan celebrates Pakaradjaan fest with Feb. kickoff. Manila Standard. January 30, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Basilan Holds Pakarajadjaan Festival. Philippine Daily Inquirer through PressReader. February 23, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Palace declares March 7 a holiday in Basilan. Sunstar. March 2, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Proclamation No. 335, s. 2012. Official Gazette. February 13, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Garcia, Teofilo Jr. Basilan marks 45th founding anniversary. Philippine News Agency. March 8, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- National Living Treasures: Ambalang Ausalin. National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Gunting, Ayunan. A look at a local Muslim beauty pageant. The Philippine Star through PressReader. March 23, 2018. Retrieved August 17, 2022
- Gov. Salliman cancels some activities for Tennum Pakaradjaan due to coronavirus outbreak. Politiko. February 11, 2020. Retrieved September 12, 2022