IN a bid to put Koronadal in the province of South Cotabato on the global cultural map, the first Koronadal International Folklore Festival is happening from August 10 to 18. Dubbed the “Pyesta Kolon Datal,” it features Koronadal’s very own B’laan dance group alongside foreign folk troupes from eight other countries namely Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Poland, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, and India.
“We would like to put Koronadal on the cultural map,” Mayor Peter Miguel shared in the media launch of the festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in July. However, he added that the city of Koronadal could not immediately go up against big festivals such as the Sinulog festival of Cebu City and the Masskara festival of Bacolod right away.
This led Miguel to seek international support from International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (CIOFF), in which Pyesta Kolon Datal became an associate member in October 2014. It is through CIOFF, that the foreign delegates are brought to the festival this year.
“The road to CIOFF was surprising,” the mayor, who also serves as the festival director, recounted. “They told us that we put the cart ahead of the horse with this festival.”
The forming of Pyesta Kolon Datal was a whirlwind venture for the local government.
Miguel represented Koronadal at the 44th CIOFF World Congress in Germany through the endorsement of Filipina CIOFF delegate for Canada, Leticia Wheeler and ECD Dance Company founder Edwin Duero, not knowing that the city’s membership would be voted on right then and there. While organizations are usually formed before planning a festival, Koronadal did it the other way by coming up with Pyesta Kolon Datal before assigning an official committee.
Despite having less than a year to prepare, the local government managed to bring in a total of 13 groups to perform street dances, added with lecture demos, pocket performances in malls, and cultural village tours for delegates.
In addition to the Koronadal Hinugyaw Cultural Dance Troupe, four other Filipino groups will represent the country namely the UP Filipiniana Dance Group, PNU Kislap Sining Dance Troupe, Philippine Barangay Folk Dance Group, and ECD Dance Company of the Philippines.
Completing the lineup of performers are Ozara Kranj from Slovenia, Ranranga Dance Academy of Sri Lanka, Folkloric Ballet of the State of Mexico, Wielkopolanie of Poland, Super Taiko Junior from Japan, IOV Indonesia Youth Section, The Lang Yan Dancers of Taiwan, and India’s Malwa Sabhyacharak Club.
Full shows will be held at the South Cotabato Gymnasium and Cultural Center and at the Rizal Park of the City of Koronadal.
“We can promote our culture by joining every international event we are invited to. We have to reciprocate by inviting [our co-members]because every year, almost every member ng CIOFF may sariling festival,” Miguel said.
To further promote traditional dance, there will be lecture demos and conferences on cultural performance conservation to be facilitated by CIOFF-USA President Aleksander Durtka, CIOFF-Canada Vice President Lettie Wheeler, and National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Arts Section Head Ferdinand Isleta, among others.
“It’s a requirement from the CIOFF not only to hold dances but to also hold conventions. The idea is to educate people, to bring the culture to the masses,” Miguel explained.
Giving the youth a newfound interest in cultural heritage performances is another of the mayor’s aims in holding the festival. He recalled a visit to Bogota, Colombia where young audiences were enthralled by a folk dance performance.
For more information, visit cioff2015.koronadal.gov.ph