Ullalim Festival in Kalinga Takes Center Stage
Now on its 17th year, the Ullalim Festival will once again take the center stage from February 10 to 14 as all the sub-cultural communities in the province of Kalinga, north of Baguio City, in the Cordillera Administrative Region, will be flaunting their best cultural performances.
'Ullalim' which means a tale, saga or story is either sung or chanted during romantic moonlit nights, Bodong and wedding celebrations or any occasion. Ullalim is the poetic expression of the heroic exploits, romance, joys and travails, and the way of life of the Kalinga from birth to death.
Dubbed as the ‘festival of festivals,’ this year’s celebration with the theme “Kalinga Shines,” will be featuring the local festivals of its seven municipalities and on city - doubling the fun and entertainment. These include the Manchatchatong Festival of Balbalan; Among Chi Bochong of Lubuagan; Pasingan Festival of Pinukpuk; Salip Festival of Pasil; Pinikpikan Festival of Rizal; Matagoan Festival of Tabuk City; Tanudan Festival; and the Unoy Festival of Tinglayan.
February 11, which will be the People’s Day, will start with a parade headed by the Farmers Irrigators’ Association, the business sector and the non government organizations with the elementary band and lyre accompanying them. This will be followed by the cultural presentations; Indigenous Culinary Arts Competition; Indigenous Sports Competition; and the Search for Miss Kalinga 2012 in the evening.
Family Day will be held in February 12 where after a thanksgiving mass, families could enjoy the day with an ‘Acrobatic show’ and ‘Kalingaling Variety Show’ at the Kalinga Sports Center.
A medical and surgical mission by the Medical Foundation of Michigan,USA will also be held from February 11 to 13 at the Almora General Hospital through the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Tabuk City.
‘Schools’ Day will be on the 13th to start with a street dancing; drum and lyre competition, and exhibitions.
The ‘Anniversary Day’ on February 14 will be highlighted with a civic parade; a Valentine's concert and fireworks display in the evening.
Part of the will be an open schedule for white water rafting at the Chico River, a scenic drive around the capital town and cultural /village immersion tour. For more details in the schedule and requirements, Miss Natividad Sugguiyao may be contacted through her cellular phone: 09178043468.
The first Ullalim Festival was celebrated in June 1995 as a highlight of the visit of then President Fidel V. Ramos who was conferred the title 'Pangat” during the event. The Kalinga royal title ‘Pangat’ is conferred to Kalingas who have distinguished themselves in heroic exploits. Ramos was the president during the signing and enactment of Republic Act. 7878 on February 14, 1995, that separated Kalinga and Apayao into two distinct and independent provinces.
On its first anniversary on February 14, 1996, the provincial government under the leadership of then Governor Dominador Belac adopted the Ullalim Festival as an integral component of the occasion making the province’s anniversary a distinct and unique celebration from then on.
The Ullalim Festival was conceptualized by the province’s cultural promoter Natividad Sugguyiao, Kalinga Provincial Director of the National Commission of Indigenous peoples (NCIP).
Since it became an important annual celebration, the Ullalim festival has provided the venue for the province to show to the world its unique culture, arts, products and various tourist attractions. With this opportunity, the people young and old became more aware of the beauty of their heritage and they eventually start to appreciate their uniqueness and identity as a people.
The festival also became a venue to bring the people closer to renew their kinship and ties while on the process preserving and enhancing their rich culture as the province’s contribution to the nation’s heritage.
The Ullalim Festival is also seen as tourism and industry promotional event providing an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to sell and promote their products, enhancing the province’s eco-tourism and agro-entrepreneurial potentials. (Geraldine G. Dumallig, PIA-CAR, Kalinga)