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Tawi-Tawi celebrates ‘Kamahardikaan’ festival

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi—The “Kamahardikaan” festival was celebrated recently in this capital town of this remote island province with Gov. Sadikul Sahali and other local government officials leading the weeklong merrymaking.

Sahali said the festivities, which thrilled a big number of foreign and domestic tourists from Zamboanga Peninsula, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the Visayas, were actively participated in by top officials of the province’s island municipalities of Mapun, Tandubas, Languyan, Simunul, Panglima Sagala, Turtle Island, Sibutu, South Ubian, Sapa-Sapa and Sitangkai.

Kamahardikaan which means “freedom” in the local dialect is a major feature of the 40-year-old province’s founding anniversary ”which was started by our forefathers,” Sahali said, adding that the event focused on the theme “Nurturing the socioeconomic gains through committed local governance Tawi-Tawi’s impact on regional and national growth.”

He said the significant occasion aims at showcasing Tawi-Tawi’s history, its vibrant colors, grandiose designs and uniqueness of its inhabitants who include the Badjaos, the island’s indigenous peoples, who live in canvass-covered boats.

Among the highlights of the affair, Sahali said, was the seaweeds fair dubbed as “Agal-Agal Festival.”  The province is often tagged as “the seaweeds capital of the Philippines.” The festival also featured a trade fair, dance and cultural exhibitions, and street-dancing competition with the participants garbed in costumes which prominently displayed seaweeds to feature the robust heritage of the residents.

Vice Gov. Ruby S. Tan said participating groups also joined various sports activities including basketball, volleyball, swimming, native-dance tilts and motocross racing joined by riders from Cebu, Zamboangla, Davao, Bukidnon, Ozamis and Zamboanga Peninsula provinces.

Tan considered the 40th provincial anniversary as, so far, the “most successful ever.”

Antonio P. Rimando

 

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