Tacurong City Celebrates Talakudong Festival 2013

September 18, 2013. Under the scorching heat of the morning sun, I patiently walk the streets of Tacurong as I struggle to find a decent spot to take photos and witness for the very first time the Talakudong Street Dancing and Field Demonstration. My burnt skin due to previous festivals and farm visits screams for some time out, but I just couldn't let the unforgiving sun ruin my excitement. It's another day to explore the city, my birthplace and my family's home province on this one festive day. Plus, this is after all, the fourth and last festival of my almost 3 month long Mindanao itinerary.  

performers swaying their vibrant kudongs

I spent most of my childhood in Manila, lived my teenage years in Laguna and luckily escaped a working zombie life in Quezon City. Throughout these years, Mindanao remained on the sideline. It throws whispers every now and then, waiting to welcome me back. Happily, for the past few years, I am able to do extended visits to my birthplace in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat.

Tacurong is derived from the word "Talakudong", an Ilonggo term that refers to a hat or any head cover. Thus the birth of Talakudong Festival, simply described as the festival of hats. 

The parade has already started when I got to the main streets And while I struggle to find a decent spot to take photos, my cousin texted me she was able to find a spot in the center of the roundball area. Great! Even though hesitant at first, I gathered the strength to show the marshall my "Media Pass" I picked up from city hall and showed him my err... good 'ol digital camera (it's way too ancient compared to others holding their professional SLRs). I managed to get into the roundball where the first judging takes place. I'm ecstatic!

  Tribu Manubiaw performing during Talakudong Street Dancing Parade 

Right after the last routine was performed at the roundball, my cousin and I marched our way back to the city hall for the much awaited showdown proper. Again at first, we satisfied ourselves at the sideline, hiding from the sun under one of the open tents. But we could barely see the performances so we decided to go to the best spot, right beside the stage! We already have dark burnt skins, we might as well thicken our face and flash our media passes, we are after all joining the photo contest.

wow, I can now see up close the participants festive faces!

Like the participant above, that's how happy I was when I get to finally shoot right beside the stage area along with other professional photographers! Wee!!! It's a first in my many festival experiences! How I love my birthplace!

Below are some photos taken during the field demonstration.

This year, a total of 5 groups competed for the title - Tribu Kudong, Tribu Manubiaw, Tribu Salakot, Tribu Kadsayap and Tribu Silak. Hopefully next year, more groups will join the competition.

Here are other interesting festival activities:

Invitational Scooter Motocross Competition

Dog Show

Half Marathon Run

For Art Sake Exhibit

Painting and Salakot Decorating Contest 

Igpat Sang Kamera Photo Contest and Photo Exhibit

This photo exhibit will forever be special because I participated in it. Submitted a couple of photos taken from our family's farm during the harvest period and got myself a consolation price! Not bad! I'm actually already thrilled to have my first "photo exhibit" experience in my birthplace.
Farmers during the harvest in San Antonio, Tacurong

Talakudong may not be the grandest festival I ever witnessed, but I saw great love and outpouring support from the locals. (super na-LSS ako sa Tacurong hymn after the street dancing showdown)

I would like to end this post with a sincere "Thank You" note. Salamat gid kaayo to the people who welcomed me back with happy smiles and sweet soft tones, to my dear relatives who showed me around and are always willing to lend a helping hand and to the uber friendly people I met along the way, thank you for making my stay enjoyable and more meaningful. I can only wish sustainable progress for the peace-loving Tacurongnons.  


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