Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival

Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival is the highlight of Masbate Cityhood Anniversary in the province of Masbate, Philippines every September 30.

The city also plays host to the Rodeo MasbateƱo Festival every April.

What is Lapay Bantigue Dance?

Lapay is the local word of seagulls that are often seen flocking in the coastlines. Bantigue refers to the village in the city where the tradition of dancing originated.

Lapay Bantigue dance mimics the gestures and movements of the seagulls. It also pays homage to Barangay Bantigue and celebrates the culture around fishing as a means of livelihood and of the fisher folks who rely on the harvest from the sea.

This dance has been acknowledged an intangible cultural property of Masbate City and an important mainstay of the cityhood anniversary every year.

Lapay Bantigue dance is also recognized as one of the Philippine folk dances.

History of Masbate City

Masbate City is one of the cities in Bicol Region that is comprised of the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Masbate, and Sorsogon

Early Spanish records mentioned that the island was called Masbat or Masbad as early as July 1569. It was known in early times as a place for mining gold. Its early settlers were fisher folks, merchants engaged in trading with other islands, and sailors.

During colonial period, it was part of Bicol and Cebu. In 1700, it became part of the jurisdiction of Albay and Masbate was made the capital.

In 1846, Masbate was separated from Albay and became an independent province. However, piracy was rampant and communities situated along the coastlines were attacked and pillaged by pirates from southern Philippines. The seat of the government and town centers transferred several times.

Towards the end of the Spanish rule, Masbate was liberated through the gallant and heroic feat of Pedro Kipte. The independence that it gained was short-lived however because the American invading forces began occupation in 1900.

Masbate was created as an independent province by virtue of Act No. 105, otherwise known as An Act Extending the Provisions of the Provincial Government Act to the Province of Masbate, that was passed on March 18, 1901. This is the date of Masbate Founding Anniversary.

However, Masbate was absorbed to the province of Sorsogon by virtue of Commission Act No. 1413 that was approved on November 22, 1905.

Its status as a sub-province lasted until 1922 when it became an independent province once again through Act No. 2934 approved December 15, 1920.

The cityhood of Masbate was advocated by representative Luz Cleta Reyes Bakunawa. The initiative later on was carried out by Emilio Espinosa, Jr. and municipal officers headed by then Mayor Juan P. Sanchez, Sr.

On August 16, 2000, Republic Act No. 8807 was approved by President Joseph Estrada. The law was otherwise known as “An Act Converting the Municipality of Masbate into a Component City of the Province of Masbate to be Known as the City of Masbate.”

It was ratified through a plebiscite and the electorate voted in its favor, officially converting Masbate to a city on September 30, 2000. This is the date that Masbate Cityhood Anniversary celebrates annually.

Masbate Cityhood Anniversary Activities

Dance contingents composed of students from various schools in the city participate in the Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival showdown. Other activities include a beauty pageant called Ginoo At Mutya ng Lapay, talent contests, competitions, and cultural presentations.

How to reach Masbate City

Flights can be booked from Metro Manila or Cebu to Masbate Airport, which is the most convenient. Sea-based travels are also available from Sorsogon and Cebu.


Lapay Bantigue Dance Festival Summary

NameLapay Bantigue Dance Festival
CelebrationFolk dance, Cityhood
Contact(056) 582-0781
DateSeptember 30
OrganizerCity Government of Masbate
Simultaneous eventMasbate Cityhood Anniversary