Sagayan: The Dance of the Maguindanaoan

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“Sagayan” is a Maguindanao word, and the war dance has always been part of merrymakings during special occasions and weddings among ethnic Maguindanaons.

It is a dance of nobility, gallantry, and honor. The movements depict the ferocity of warriors and is descriptive of the Maguindanaoans who hold the reputation of being brave people.

The dancers acting as warriors wear colorful costumes and carry blade weapons called “kampilan,” as well as shields called “klung” that are adorned with beads that create distinct sounds with every movement. The sound distracts the attention of the enemies.

Though it is war dance, the Sagayan does not depict feudalism, Rather, it shows the zeal of the Maguindanaoans to protect their communities from any form of conquest or abuse.

It is also meant to show the resilience of the Maguindanaon communities and their strength to readily rise or bounce back from every and any devastation.

Already in its 3rd year, the Sagayan Festival aims to promote an environment of joy and unity, as well as foster the enormous tourism potential of Maguindanao.

This year’s Sagayan Festival runs from February 1 to 28, 2014, with the theme, “Empowerment of Diversified Cultures through Progressive and Unified Halal Governance.”

by Lerio Bompat, ABS-CBN Cotabato, and the Provincial Tourism Office of the Province of Maguindanao

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