Bantayan Festival

Bantayan Festival, now on its 9th year, is an annual celebration in Guimbal, Iloilo to pay homage to the heroism of Christian natives of Guimbal who fought against the Moros who frequently attacked and captured natives then sold them as slaves in Kolambogan, Mindanao. During the 17th century, the natives thought of securing their area for defense and built bantayans or watchtowers originally made of bamboo and were later built out of huge blocks of stones. Today, three bantayan structures still exist in the area.

I was invited by good friend Ray Gibraltar to mentor and judge in their Indie Film Festival, part of the Bantayan Festival celebration. This indie festival, a brainchild of then Guimbal Mayor and now Iloilo Vice-Governor Richard Garin, aims to promote their municipality’s talents as they make films with Guimbalanon filmmakers, staff, actors and must use the Karay-a dialect.

It was a fun stay in Guimbal with fellow filmmaker EJ Salcedo, director of Third World Happy starring Sam Milby (which will be exhibiting at the Jeonju International Film Festival this May) who also mentored Directing and Production Design for the “kids”.

Some pictures of the Tribal Dance competition featuring 33 baranggays in the Municipality divided into 9 tribes.

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