Lang-ay Festival is a founding anniversary celebration and a summertime festival of the province of Mountain Province, Philippines held every first week of April. It is a week-long fest with activities taking place in Bontoc, the capital of the province.
It was conceived to promote unity among tribal communities, inculcate appreciation and preserve cultural heritage, and stimulate the local tourism industry. Over the years, it has become the fruit of synergy between the local provincial government and private partners.
History of Lang-ay Festival
Lang-ay Festival comes from the word lang-ay, a word in the local language that refers to fellowship. It is marked with merry-making, partaking of an alcoholic beverage that is a locally produced rice wine, and prepared dishes from butchered livestock and poultry.
The first Lang-ay Festival was launched by then Governor Maximo B. Dalog during the 38th founding anniversary of Mountain Province in 2005.
In preparation for the 2015 events, then governor Leonard Mayaen moved to privatize the festival. Thus, the organization and management of various activities and events were taken up by the Lang-ay Festival Committee, a group made up of private institutions and business entities in coordination with the local government and agencies like the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Interior and Local Government, and National Commission on Indigenous People.
Occurring every first week of April, it was postponed a week later in 2016 for the unexpected passing of Mayaen who died while serving his term as governor. Furthermore, it was cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic from 2020 to 2022.
History of Mountain Province
Lang-ay Festival marks the historic establishment of Mountain Province, a landlocked area whose borders are Kalinga and Abra (north), Ilocos Sur (west), Benguet and Ifugao (south), and Isabela (east). It belongs to the Cordillera Administrative Region, a dorsal mountain ranges in the north-central part of the island of Luzon.
Experts believed that the region was inhabited for thousands of years. However, not much written history can be gleaned about the period preceding the Spanish conquest except the accounts by foreign merchants particularly those coming from mainland China who traded with the native population, as well as the excavated pre-Hispanic artifacts such as ceramics and gongs.
With the coming of the Spaniards, the region became known as Gran Cordillera. Indigenous highland communities halted colonizing and evangelizing efforts of the Spanish conquistadores, lured by the prospect of the rich gold veins found in the region, by their fierce resistance. They also launched attacks against lowland areas populated by townsfolk who converted to Christianity. People who did not want to be under foreign rule also escaped to the mountainous interiors. At the end of the Spanish rule, the Cordillera had been defended and in the process its people preserved their way of life.
The region was reorganized a few times during the American period. It used to belong to the Spanish-era Amburayan Province in June 1901. Then, Mountain Province was organized through the enactment of Act No. 1876 of the Philippine Commission in 1908. Among other things, the law established a prison in Bontoc for non-Christian criminals and defined the borders of Nueva Vizcaya. Amburayan was later dissolved in 1920.
In the post-war era, Mountain Province was broken up to establish the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Kalinga-Apayao by virtue of Republic Act No. 4695 on June 18, 1966. (Kalinga and Apayao would later split through Republic Act No. 7878 on February 24, 1995.) And on April 7, 1967, new officials assumed their government posts including Luis Hora as representative, Alfredo G. Lamen as governor, Victor S. Dominguez as vice-governor, and board members.
April 7 was chosen as the founding day of the province commemorated by Lang-ay Festival and as adopted by the Provincial Board No. 69 passed on June 10, 1980. Fidel V. Ramos also issued Proclamation No. 14 on February 28, 1993 that declared the date as Mountain Province Foundation Day.
Lang-ay Festival Activities
Opening activities of Lang-ay Festival begin in the first day of April. The fest generally closes in the 7th (see 2019 calendar), although in 2016, 2017 and 2018 activities concluded beyond that day and in 2015, their schedule was month-long.
Events include the observance of the province’s founding in the 7th, parade, agricultural trade fair, street-dancing, sporting events, fashion show, entertainment every evening for the entire duration of the fest, concerts, live bands, cook-fest of indigenous culinary dishes, talent contests, cultural shows, fagfagto id wanga in Chico River, Gangsa Night (a cultural night featuring presentation, music, and dance where gongs called gangsa are played), indigenous games such as khug-uyud, inet-etaan, and sangkhor, food fest such as patupat (a snack made of glutinous rice and sugarcane juice) etc.
Kataguan Caravan, also called Kataguan Caravan for a Cause (“Drive for Life”), comes from the word tago, which means life. It is an activity that aims to raise funds for charity and cultivates og-ogfo or bayanihan, which is the community spirit to help. Launched by Kataguan Dialysis Patients Organization, Inc. and Congressman Maximo Dalog in 2015, it was included in the festival calendar in order to help patients undergoing regular hemodialysis treatment. In addition, it also functions as a tourism for the province because it involves participants in a motorcade as they travel through or hold stop-overs in different scenic spots.
Search for Miss Mountain Province
Search for Miss Mountain Province is the beauty pageant regarded the most prestigious in the province.
How to reach Mountain Province
Buses from Manila have regular trips to Mountain Province, specifically Baguio City.
- Lang-ay Festival 2015 Launched. Provincial Government of Mountain Province. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Geminiano, Pamela Mariz. ‘Lang-ay’ Festival eyed to further boost Mt. Province tourism. Philippine News Agency. January 15, 2019. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Mountain Province celebrates 15th Lang-ay Festival, 52nd anniversary. Business World. March 17, 2019. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Sacyaten, Roger. Lang-ay Festival cancelled; MP foundation day commemoration okayed. Baguio Herald Express. March 1, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Thousands partake of biggest ‘patupat’ in Lang-ay festival. City Government of Baguio. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Hent. Simple celebration for Mountain Province Day. Baguio Herald Express. March 5, 2022. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Palangchao, Harley. ‘Lang-ay Festival’ unites rival tribes. The Manila Times. April 9, 2005. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Tibaldo, Art. Feature: Lang-ay in Bontoc – A Growing Tradition. Philippine Information Agency. April 13, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Lang-ay Festival rescheduled. Sunstar. April 3, 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Mt. Province all set for Lang-ay 2018. Sunstar. February 16, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Private Sector to Manage Lang-ay Next Year. Provincial Government of Mountain Province. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- History. Provincial Government of Mountain Province. Retrieved September 18, 2022
- Ethnic History (Cordillera). National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved September 19, 2022
- Acts No. 1876., August 18, 1908. Supreme Court of the Philippines – Elibrary. Retrieved September 19, 2022
- Republic Act No. 4695. Supreme Court of the Philippines – Elibrary. Retrieved September 19, 2022
- Area of Coverage. Agriculture Training Institute – Department of Agriculture. Retrieved September 19, 2022
- Republic Act No. 7878. Official Gazette. February 14, 1995. Retrieved September 19, 2022
- Kataguan caravan for a cause added in Lang-ay festival. Sunstar. March 22, 2017. Retrieved September 19, 2022
- 6th Kataguan caravan raises P1.4M for dialysis patients in Mt. Province. Philippine Information Agency. June 30, 2021. Retrieved September 19, 2022