Town Festival in the Philippines #1: Buswak in Minalabac, Camarines Sur
What 'Buswak' is all about
Buswak is a vernacular word (Bicol term) for fruit-bearing stage of palay or rice.
Since, my hometown MInalabac, is known for its vast ricefields, the local government unit officials and its tourism council decided to make it as an annual civic event, every month of March, showcasing the abundance of agricultural produce during the start of summer.
Started on year 2007, the tourism committee focuses on the importance of town's vague history, legends and folklores.
Way back year March 2014, the Buswak Festival opened with street dancing participated in for the first time by some 200 public school teachers clad in colorful costumes, based on the local legend “Kulakog”, a legendary giant that once roamed Minalabac, and the legend of the Quiriaon bell during the Spanish era.
The festival aims to:
- promote the traditional agricultural products of the town -- palay, abaca, coconuts and seasonal vegetables
- showcase its pristine beaches in the villages of Bagolatao, San Antonio, Salingogon and Hamorawon.
- welcome traders in order to promote both local and national products.
This hubber have been involved with the tourism council, including:
- solicitations coming from the well-off residents of our town who now live abroad but still connect and interact with us through this festival;
- as unofficial photographer during the pageant night of Miss Buswak 2015(Titles including: Festival Queen, Miss Minalabac and Miss Tourism); and
- guest exhibitor for the photo exhibit.
The event and more: I Love Minalabac Signage & Buswak Festival 2015 Three-Day Program of ActivitiesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Facts about Minalabac
- Minalabac is a third-class municipality in Camarines Sur, Bicol, Philippines.
- It has a population of 48, 162 people, based from the 2010 national census. The next census will start this summer of 2015 as 45 enumerators/surveyors were selected this March.
- The town known for the so-called "Tumatarok ni San Felipe-Santiago" or Young Planters of Apostles Saint Philip and Saint James. It is a dance festival where young boys aged 10 to 12 years old performed the dance ritual. I have vague memory of this, but I was once involved in this socio-religious activity.
- It comprises of twenty-five (25) barangays or villages, namely:
- Baliuag Nuevo
- Baliuag Viejo
- Del Carmen-Del Rosario (Poblacion)
- Del Socorro
- Irayang Solong
- Sagrada (Sagrada Familia)
- San Antonio
- San Felipe-Santiago (Poblacion)
- San Francisco (Poblacion)
- San Jose
- San Juan-San Lorenzo (Poblacion)
5. The main summer beach destinations include the pebble beach in Bagolatao and sand beach in Hamoraon. There's a private beach in Salingogon offering comfort and amenities for personal rendezvous. Meanwhile, San Antonio beach is yet to be tamed since its big stones also attract handful of beach-goers.The growing number of resorts (privately-owned or barangay-assisted ones) offers amenities such as cottages, videoke, rest houses.
6. A Shell Museum is now situated at Barangay Bagolatao and ready to be perused and visited by interested local and foreign tourists.
Where is Minalabac, Camarines Sur, Philippines?
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How Municipal & Barangay Officials, Educators and Students participate in Buswak 2015?
The Minalabac Tourism Council considered the participation of teachers and students abig triumph for the Buswak Festival.
Teachers provided coaching and advisory participation and activity-launching, through:
- short video filming and editing - about Minalabac's tourism potentials
- essay-writing contest
- poster-making contest
- festival-jingle making contest
Students, both elementary and high school contingents provided participation and exhibition for
- Drum, Lyre & Majorette Competition
- Military Parade and Exhibition
Barangay Officials and Appointees also saw their participation through fun walk (with the gay-kathon), closing day parade, exhibits, bloodletting, bet-on-your baby, senior citizens' online PhilHealth registration and grand night for Rigodon de Honor.
Activities usually staged/ehibited during Buswak Festival in Minalabac, Camarines Sur
Closing Day Activities
Buswak Festival Queen Coronation Rites
Grand Parade by LGU, BLGU, DepEd
Health Care/Advocacy Programs
Competition like Military Parade, Drum/Lyre/Majorette Competition
Holy Mass Celebration
Gay Marathon (Gay-kathon)
Parade of Patron Saints
Holy Mass Celebration
Opening Day of Trade Fair
Dance (Rigodon de Honor,etc.) with Live Band
First Day of Buswak 2015 (18th Day of March): Opening Program,Trade Fair & Photo ExhibitClick thumbnail to view full-size
Difficulties and Successes of Launching Buswak Festival
Since 2007, Buswak Festival is muddied with political bickering and controversies.
As our town's name implied, Mina means mine and labac is all about mud or muddy soil.
But the Tourism Council of Minalabac and the support of the constituents continue to grow each year.
There's no stopping them to launch the festival every year, since it is only two years-shy away for its decade-long celebration.
This year, it was my first to actively participate in the festival.
From time to time, I've been visiting the tourism office for updates.
I had my hands-on with the solicitation and little errands that made me the 'sixth man' for this year's festival.
Our tourism page on Facebook, Minalabacueños for Tourism, Culture and Advocacy with the help of Lgu Minalabac FB page, made more residents aware about the importance of the festival.
It's promotion is very timely since the country is facing the effects of El Niño phenomenon and drew some major exhibitors from nearby towns.
This year's highlight showcased the beauty product line of a local resident who's life was changed as she became a well-off resident of our town.
Second Day of Buswak 2015 (19th Day of March) : Festival Queen's Coronation Night and MoreClick thumbnail to view full-size
Remembering the preparation of Buswak 2015
As early as February, 2015, the staff of Mayor's office and the local tourism council presented the draft of the major activities.
Since, there's no approved budget yet, the core group decided to solicit from Minalabac residents (Minalabacueños) from here and abroad, whether it is cash or in-kind of products or services.
There's a post-Valentine dance participated by barangay captains and bingo socials that generated additional fund for the festival.
Social media, like Facebook, greatly helped in promoting the 8th year of the said festival.
There's an underlying incidentals, but it didn't hinder the enthusiasm of the group and their efforts paid out.
How People of Minalabac participated during Buswak 2015Click thumbnail to view full-size
This hubber is indebted to...
- Minalabac Tourism Council , with Ma. Luningning Albong, Senior Admin. Officer Nenita Villegas-Velarde for allowing me to be part of the 8th year staging of Buswak Festival.
- Fellow photo bloggers whose selected photos appeared on this hub.
- Wikipedia for providing authentic data about my town.
- Online site of sister-town/city Zamboanga (in Mindanao) for sharing our town's data and demographics.
- Our town's leader (the mayor),Hon. Nestor A. Villegas who's truly a servant leader (not a political leader) for unselfishly dedicating this sort-ot-thanksgiving festival to the people of Minalabac, especially to farmers and fishermen, whom he created (through an approved municipal ordinance) way back 2007.
- Journal Online (journal.com.ph) for additional information during the 7th Buswak Festival.
- Unnamed Minalabacueños who believe on the authenticity of said festival.
Photos Liked and Shared by me and my fellow MinalabacueñosClick thumbnail to view full-size
My hometown, Minalabac
I uploaded my composition, Minalabac, via YouTube way back June 14, 2013.
My translation goes this way (as I've written it in Bicol dialect):
Minalabac, my hometown,
Baliuag Nuevo, is where I was born
Here in Camarines Sur, my town is famous
for its ricefields, coconuts and abaca.
When Nana Noning was still living,
She told me about everything,
giving importance to our own's culture
even if you go and work in other countries.
In every occasion in our town,
there are many activities that I like to watch,
There's Tumatarok, which is a sacred tradition
and thanksgiving with Buswak Festival.
In 25 barangays, almost all residents are familiar with each other
and always ready to entertain visitors,
There are delicious foods enticing you to be satisfied
and drinks that will make you drunk.
There's river, ricefields, mountains and the sea
Simple living until you prosper
Life in Minalabac, you'll truly admire.
All of us are truly helping each other
We will overcome any problem
as we evade rumors and intrigues.
Personal Note: I am also indebted to my father's cousin, "Nana Noning", (Leonora Rojano-DyLiacco) the deposed English teacher and prime mover of Bicolano culture. She was awarded an international recognition in literary field due to her poetry books promoting her town.
Minalabac (composed and sung by Ireno Alcala)
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