Inaul Festival | Weaving Maguindanao’s Threads of Time
Between the forgotten tales of the Sultanate of Maguindanao & the unimaginable speed of modern day living, there is a band of threads binding the stories together — the inaul. And every mid-February, everything spreads larger than life at the grand Inaul Festival.
Inaul is a piece of traditional handwoven cloth worn in many ways than one. But more than just a textile, it is a time-honoured handicraft showcasing Maguindanao’s art, culture & heritage.
It is also about the stories of its people & their destiny, woven into the fabric that defines their slogan — Maguindanao, MagandaNOW!
Inaul Festival: Boastfully Beautiful!
I admit that the elaborate celebration of Inaul Festival floored me. Despite being new in the country’s festival scene, it can already stand proud beside other known festivals in the country. It’s packed with fun activities, huge prizes & sparkling celebrity attendance. In fact, the word lavish to describe it would be an understatement.
For 2 weeks, Buluan became the hub of extraordinary frenzy in this side of Mindanao. The capital town was so full that visitors spilled to nearby cities for hotel accommodations.
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Inaul Festival Grand Street Parade
Maguindanao truly decked out for the occasion. Huge floats drowned the streets with mammoth expressions of moving architectures. Adorned with the finest brasswares, flags & kulintangan ensemble, each one rolled with so much pride.
Dindang sa Lalan flooded the parade with amazing pageantry too! Maguindanao dances like sagayan, asik, sayap, gandingan & other stylistic expressions wowed the swarming audience. Indeed, it was a visual extravaganza especially the shimmering inaul.
Trade Expo & Exhibit
Handwoven fabrics are my kind of high. And yes, the experience at the trade expo surely plunged me into the world of inaul. My heart skipped a beat seeing all the colours & designs, the weaving styles & the materials used.
But the best part of the exhibit were the live weaving demonstrations. It was a rare experience watching all the master weavers in their element. It was not only a display of their knowledge of the textile but also the continuing of a tradition threatened by modernity.
Although the inaul highlighted the trade expo, it also showcased the best of each town. From heirloom brasswares to mats & from food to gongs, the hall was just an overload of things to experience.
Inaul Festival is a celebration that never forgets its other cultural heritage. Among them is the staging of the sagayan, a war dance from the moro epic Darangen. There were also theatrical presentations of Maguindanaon stories.
Then there’s Dayunday, a competition of traditional songs & chants called the “bayok”. Also, Palabuni-bunian gave the stage to traditional music players in a kulintangan competition like no other.
Just when you think that Inaul Festival is all about its heritage glories, you’ll be surprised to find how they party just like in the big city! Imagine Bamboo, Yano, Shanti Dope & Kamikaze performing to a jampacked audience.
And what’s a festival without the search for the festival queen? Yes, it’s this season when the prettiest & smartest Maguindanaons sashay down the ramp. Graced by movie celebrities & international beauty queens, the search for the Palamata nu Maguindanao is always an anticipated event.
Moreover, the Governor’s Ball is another star-studded event attended by Maguindanao’s elite, officials & community prime movers. It is also the perfect venue to find how local & national designers reimagine the inaul into wearables & haute couture.
Moro cuisine is as exquisite as you can imagine. Its cookfest dubbed as Alugan, brought everyone to a gustatory spin. From everyday delights to chic gourmets, everything was more than enough to keep you burping!
Other events included a car show, boxing match, volleyball game, rodeo & a job fair. But worthy to note was their Moro song exhibition, breathing life to old tunes & exciting the hearts thru its new compositions.
Maguindanao is surely isn’t shy about its love for celebration. A brainchild of Governor Toto Mangudadatu, Inaul Festival aims to honor their culture & to keep it all alive. It also hopes to bring their unique fiber arts to the country’s sparkling festival arena.
If only you made it to Inaul Festival, you’d experience what Maguindanao, MagandaNOW really means beyond what goes on national headlines.