T’nalak Festival: 5 highlights you shouldn’t miss

South Cotabato’s most colorful celebration gets better each year! While Tnalak Festival commemorates the renowned T’nalak weaving, a traditional masterpiece of the Tboli weavers with unique geometric patterns made of intensely colored abaca fibers, it also celebrates the spirit of unity and dynamism among South Cotabateños amidst cultural and religious differences.

The Festival, dubbed as the biggest, brightest and most colorful celebration in SOX (SOCSKSARGEN) Region also commemorates the Foundation Anniversary of the province. But just like most of the festivals in the country organizers tend to integrate other generic activities just to add “spice” to the week-long celebration. So, how do you experience the real Tnalak Festival?

Here are the 5 highlights you shouldn’t miss if you want to experience South Cotabato and what T’nalak Festival is really all about:

1. T’nalak Food Garden

This is one of the newest addenda to the festival. The Tnalak Food Garden in front of South Cotabato Sports Complex showcases some of the flavors of South Cotabato and flavors made popular by the province’s leading restaurants. The food garden is part of the Tnalak Strip, the party highway situated at the 1.5 kilometer portion of Alunan Avenue stretching from South Cotabato Sports Complex to the grounds of SPDA compound.

For “chill-time” with family and friends while enjoying some of the province’s culinary hits amidst acoustic and cultural performances, the food garden area is the place to be.

Recommended Restos:

  • Punta Isla Resto for the popular Tilapia dishes of Lake Sebu
  • Fortune Field Resort (a.k.a Hitoan) for their signature hito (catfish) menus of Banga
  • The Farm at Carpenter Hill for their Filipino cuisine cooked South Cotabato style. Wifey’s favorite is the Baby Back Ribs.

2. ADUSAY (Awit, Dula at Sayaw) Competition

This is the street challenge, the Filipino way, for the province’s 10 towns and one city. ADUSAY, as the acronym says, showcases folk stories and legends from each participating town as presented in songs, drama and dances. By following all the performances you will learn of how rich in traditional stories the province is.

Click HERE for the Schedule of Activities for T'nalak Festival this year. 

3. Bahay Kubo Competition

To get familiar with the 10 towns and one city of the province, their activities, products and culture all you got to do is visit the bahay kubo (huts) building and display competition along Alunan Avenue starting in front of the Provincial Capitol Building to the sidewalks of Protech Center. The unique and neatly-built huts made of Bamboo and other indigenous materials represent each town and the livelihoods of its people.

4.  Tri People Grand Parade

Go to the streets of Koronadal City on the 18 of July and experience for yourself South Cotabato in a spectacle of street dances showcasing the three colorful cultures: the Indigenous Peoples (Madal Be’ Lan); the Visayan Settlers (Kasadyahan sa Kapatagan) and the Muslims (Kadsagayan A Lalan). This is the day when the main streets of Koronadal City become a network of performing stages for the dancers from different municipalities. This is the day when the city becomes alive with the T’nalak colors of deep red, black and white and cultural beats from hundreds of huge speakers dotting the city streets.

5. Foundation Anniversary Program

This is where the royal rumble of the province’s best group cultural performers culminates. Imagine thousands of spectators in the Sports complex being silenced by the parade of performances in the three categories of Street Dancing Showdown. From the streets, the performers converge to the sports complex for the final stretch of the competition. 

Watch and listen to the stories of each performance. You just might understand for yourself why the festival is considered by many as one of the most authentic cultural celebrations in the country. 

Cheers! []

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