The buyogan Festival contingent in one of its performances.
The buyogan Festival contingent in one of its performances.

ABUYOG, Leyte, Jan. 27 (PNA) — This town’s Buyogan Festival has been invited by the International Association for Human Values (IAHA) of Malaysia to participate in the World Culture Festival on March 11-13, 2016 in New Delhi, India.

Mayor Octavio Traya Jr. is enthusiastic with this invitation to perform in an international event. The festival is fresh from its win as

best in street dancing — free interpretation category during the 2016 Sinulog Festival  in Cebu City. It also won 3rd place both as best musicality and free interpretation categories.

The invitation was personally hand-carried by Siaw San Liew to the mayor on Monday. Liew is the project leader of Philippines Empowerment Program of IAHA.

The World Culture Festival is part of the Art of Living Foundation’s 35th year, which is spearheading the event. The foundation has 35 years of service to humanity, spirituality and human values.

It is stated in the letter that Leyte province, being one of the critically impacted regions in the country by the climate change, is a voice that needs to be embodied in this massive event.

“It is a great opportunity to send the best of Leyte to the World Culture Festival to perform in behalf of the Filipinos to say thank you to the world for the help received after super typhoon Yolanda devastated the region,” Traya said.

He and the rest of the local government are enthusiastic about this invitation because this would be the first time the Philippines would send a representative to this global event.

The challenge now, according to Traya is to raise PHP3.8 million for the local travel expenses, international flights and hotel accommodation for a hundred performers.

Buyogan boasts of its new colorful costumes patterned to the different shapes and colors of a bee and mimicking its bee life to the beat of distinct Buyogan music.

Legend has it that Abuyog town has a mystical creature popularly known as Opayda. She is a good fairy who helped cure victims of bee stings and guides fishermen safely back to shore through her magical voice.

Buyogan was the champion in the first Leyte Kasadyaan Festival in October 1996. It was adjudged Hall of Famer after it became a champion five times since that year.

As Hall of Famer, it was not allowed to compete until it made a comeback in 2007 and won again in the twin-billed Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival held in Tacloban City to celebrate the city fiesta.

In 2009, the well-loved Buyogan Festival created history when it swept in both Cebu City’s Sinulog Festival — Champion Free Interpretation Category and Best in Street Dancing.

The group won the Aliwan Festival on April that year, a competition of the 17 best regional festivals in the country at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila organized by the Manila Broadcasting Company and brought home PHP1 million cash prize.

After the super typhoon on Nov. 8, 2013, it didn’t compete in any festivals for financial consideration as the costumes and props were destroyed by the disaster. It was a guest performer in the Pintados in 2014.

It did a smashing comeback in the 2015, winning both the Sinulog and the Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival of Festivals.

According to Liew, the World Culture Festival will be attended by close to 3.5 million people from diplomatic community, humanitarian organizations, cultural and art aficionados. It would be a chance for the Buyogan to showcase the best of Leyte and an opportunity to show Filipino culture in a world stage. (PNA)
JBP/SQM/VICKY C. ARNAIZ

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