Monday, December 07, 2009

Kidapawan City holds Kalibongan Festival

Spectators watch in awe as two stallions fight each other during the recent Kalibongan festival in Kidapawan City in North Cotabato province in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner Photo / Giovani Solmerano)

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / December 7, 2009) – The Kalibongan is a Manobo term which means “Grand Festival” that is being celebrated annually in the southern Philippine province of North Cotabato, particularly in Kidapawan City.

Manobo is one of more than a dozen indigenous tribes in Mindanao.

The Manobos, Bagobos, and other highland tribes from different parts of the province go down to Kidapawan to show off and proudly display their tradition and cultural heritage.

Traditional horse fighting stands out as among the most awaited event in the Kalibongan festival. Although horse fighting is now outlawed in many countries, the Manobos continue this tradition because of its cultural importance.

Horse fighting still thrives in countries like Indonesia, China and South Korea. Brutal and inhumane, these spectacles can be anything from featured events in annual feasts and thanksgiving festivals to scrappy events put together by locals for the purposes of an afternoon's gambling and entertainment, or to honor a special guest.

Many horse fighting takes place in city stadiums or abandoned playing fields in remote villages and provinces. In more highly populated areas they may also be conducted at a local racetrack. (Nina Rodriguez)

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