LEGAZPI CITY: The country’s oldest epic showcasing ancient heroes will be brought to life anew in the month-long Ibalong Festival that features Tanghalang Pilipino artists led by Janine Desiderio of Miss Saigon.
“Ibalong,” which celebrates the myths and legends of the country’s sole epic long before the colonizers came, will be plied today by the Legazpeños where dancers from all sectors of the society, government agencies and schools will be showcasing its prowess to the public with the plea of taking care of environment here.
“Our festival [Ibalong] is different from other festivals in the country as we’re engaging with climate change long before the impact we’re going through today. This epic even captivated the artists of Tanghalang Pilipino and they’re staging the country’s oldest epic at no cost to the city government of Legazpi,” Mayor Noel Rosal told reporters in a press briefing here.
Opening salvo of the festival is the street party from Albay cathedral going to Embarcadero de Legazpi after the holy Mass.
The Ibalong Festival epic will be recreated by artists of Tanghalang Pilipino before the public in a musical play at Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Bitano village.
Events were lined up but the city government will be conducting coral reef restoration activities along the boulevard.
The Ibalong Festival is also a celebration of the people’s resiliency, given the string of calamities that regularly befall the region sprawled on a site that tempts typhoons.
Main event of Ibalong Festival is the street dancing where performers depict the numerous myths and legends in the Ibalong epic with the majestic Mayon Volcano as backdrop.
Other attractions include street parties, Albay Ancop global walk, water sports competition, (jetski and sailathon), Pili Culinaria, Ibalong National Age Group Swimming Championship, band concerts in the evening, flea markets in the streets of the city, fireworks display and many others.
The festival was originally conducted in October but moved in August to evade the peak of typhoon season.