Sarangani Kehelubong Lemlunay: A Feast of Exotic Culture in Mindanao

Seven kilometers of uphill motorcycle ride from Kiamba proper awaits an unveiled paradise of a mountainous village in barangay Tamadang, Sarangani, Mindanao.

Sitio Falel is endowed with rich traditions and well-preserved culture that have long been kept as a Sarangani indigenous tribes – the Tboli.

It is a community now groomed by the local government as an integral part of the town's eco-tourism showcase.

"It is one of our beautiful tourist spots here that if you happen to miss, you missed half of your life," Mayor Rom Falgui quips.

On December 18-20, the Tbolis at Falel will display various traditional practices of the tribe as they celebrate Kehelubong Lemlunay, which means a gathering in paradise, as the village commemorates its 33rd founding anniversary.

One of the feast's highlights will be the showcasing of Tboli hut making, revealing the tribe's time-honored way of building their houses which are primarily composed of indigenous materials such as bamboo poles and Fern tree (cabo negro).

The name "Falel" was derived from one of the species of Fern plant that is prevalent around barangay Tamadang in Sarangani.

Meanwhile, Cogon grass and Rattan strips are used for binding. Even without bolts and nails, Tboli houses are said to last for 15 years.

Prior to the occasion, a hut was already constructed. Through a bayanihan, the building was put up as the multi-functional hall for the community's various ethno-cultural practices.

The Tboli villagers, who are now mostly Catholic converts, have consecrated their newly-built house during the feast of Immaculate Concepcion (December 8).

"Kiamba is full of pure beauty that every nature-lover, local or foreign, will surely admire especially the picturesque view here in Falel," said municipal tourism officer-designate Allan de Lima.

"Every tourist to Sarangani will surely experience the traditional means of living as the way it was during the ancient days of the Tboli community," De Lima concluded. (PIA Joel C. Pinos)

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