Kasanggayahan Festival is the biggest festival in the province of Sorsogon, Philippines. Held every October 1 to 31, it is a month-long celebration of its founding anniversary. Regarded as the province’s Festival of all Festivals, It is participated by the local government units of constituent localities of the province. Organized by the provincial government and the Kasanggayahan Foundation, Inc., major events take place in Sorsogon, its capital.
History of Kasanggayahan Festival
The first Kasanggayahan Festival was launched by governor Juan G. Frivaldo in time for the 80th founding year of the province in 1974. Its name comes from the word of kasanggayahan, which means prosperity. It was also the same year that the Kasanggayahan Amphitheater, where the activities of the fest are held, was built.
During the celebrations on October 31, 2019, it set the Guinness World Record for the largest Filipino folk dance performance. The total number of participants coming from the different localities was 7,1027 and they performed the folk dance Pantomina sa Tinampo in Rompeolas Baywalk, Magsaysay Street, and Rizal Street.
History of Sorsogon
Kasanggayahan Festival is a celebration that commemorates the establishment of Sorsogon. The province is located in the southeastern portion of the island of Luzon. It is part of the Bicol Region that also consists of the provinces of Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, and Masbate.
The first Spaniards to visit Sorsogon were part of the expedition sent by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1569. It was headed by Captain Luis Enriquez de Guzman who sailed forth from Panay to explore the islands of Masbate, Burias, and Ticao as well as the mainland. They reached Gibalon which was then a sea port of Sorsogon. Part of the village of Siuton in the town of Magallanes, it was here that the first mass in Luzon was conducted by Augustinian friar Alonzo Jimenez O.S.A. who was the chaplain of the expedition. According to accounts, the Spaniards also baptized the natives and put up a chapel. The historic site is considered the birthplace of Christianity in Luzon, and Gibalon Historical Shrine was erected as commemoration.
On May 16, 1572, Sorsogon was apportioned to encomiendas and by July 1574 along with other provinces in the Bicol region that was then known as Los Camarines, it was declared part of the colony of the monarchy in Spain. Friars of the Franciscan order began their mission of Christianizing the natives in the area and took over the works started by the Augustinians in 1583. They put up a cross in Casiguran in 1600 from which the parish of Holy Rosary was established. Other places were founded in succeeding years such as Bacon in 1617, Bulusan in 1630, and Donsol in 1668.
In 1610, a ship-making industry began in Calaguimi, Magallanes through the Real Astillero de Bagatao. Established by Governor General Juan de Silva, it produced ships including battle-ready ones that were put on sale for profit and used in the Manila-Alcapulco galleon trade. The shipyard and the garrison were ransacked however in October 18, 1616 by Moro raiders that resulted to the death of two hundred people, the capture of hundreds of natives and Spaniards, and a loss estimated to be about one million pesos. These ruinous raids became emboldened at a time when the Spanish fleet suffered after the debacle of sending an expedition to Malacca. They would continue for much of the colonial era and declined significantly in the 19th century.
In 1669 Fr. Pedro Espallargas invented hag-otan, a device for abacca plants, in Cogon (presently the village of San Pascual) in Bacon. The machine allowed improvements in the extraction of fibers from abacca.
On October 17, 1894, Sorsogon ceded from Albay and became an independent province. This is the date that Kasanggayahan Festival commemorates. Masbate used to be independent in 1846 but it was annexed to Sorsogon as sub-province in 1908, and it gained independence as it separated through Commonwealth Act No. 2934 on December 15, 1920.
Kasanggayahan Festival Activities
Activities of Kasanggayahan Festival are conceptualized to pursue the goals of promoting agriculture, art, culture, history, tourism, and trade. A number of events happen the entire month such as fun, games, entertainments shows, and the Kasanggayahan Tiangge which is the open market. It also features the individual cultural festivals of the different localities such as Paraw Festival Parade of Lights (Poblacion, Pilar), Ginuman Festival (Ronpeola, Sorsogon City), Fiesta sa Kabubudlan, and others. Other events include art fest, sports (bike, boxing, badminton, boat race, surfing), cultural shows, float, parade, etc.
Mutya ng Kasanggayahan
Mutya ng Kasanggayahan (Miss Kasanggayahan) is the beauty pageant of the festival.A prestigious search, it seeks candidates who represent different localities who embody the values of the modern woman of Sorsogon.
Pantomina sa Tinampo
Pantomina sa Tinampo means pantomime in the streets. It is a Bicolano folk dance that is performed and has become a defining feature of the festival. Also known as the dance of the doves, it is characterized as courtship dance that expresses the romance between two lovers.
How to reach Sorsogon
The most convenient is to take a flight to Legazpi Airport in Albay and take a bus to Sorsogon.
- Kasanggayahan Festival. Tourism Promotions Board Philippines. Retrieved October 7, 2022
- DOT lauds Sorsogon’s Guinness record on folk dance performance. The Philippine Star. November 3, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2022
- DOT celebrates Sorsogon’s Guinness record. Business Mirror. January 5, 2020. Retrieved October 8, 2022
- History. Provincial Government of Sorsogon. Retrieved October 7, 2022
- Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina Sorsogon marks 450th year of first Mass in Luzon. Manila Bulletin. October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2022
- Gibalon Historical Shrine. Municipal Government of Magallanes. Retrieved October 8, 2022
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- Act No. 2934, December 15, 1920. Supreme Court of the Philippines E-Library. Retrieved October 8, 2022