Last March 2009, after our “Disappointing weekend at Plantation Bay Cebu” we dropped by at the Cebu International convention Center as it is the last day of the “One Visayas” expo.
This mother of all festivals is a brainchild of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia who also initiated a “cultural renaissance” in Cebu province through her program called “One Cebu.” Cebu Daily news describes it as “the most serious attempt to bring together the provinces of the three Central Philippine regions to showcase the best of their culture and art forms.”
This year’s theme is “One People, One Vision.” Representatives from 20 provinces from the three Visayan regions came under one roof and showcased the best of what the Visayan culture has to offer.
It is about time that something like this is initiated. The Visayan people should realize that the more we discover that we have something in common, the more we will be more united as a people.
I did some research on the history of the Visayans. According to Wikipedia entries, the Visayans in the Philippines are near distant relatives of the “Bisaya” tribe who are an indigenous people of northwestern Borneo, Malaysia. Anthropologists believe that some “Bisayans” migrated from Bornea to what we know today as the Visayas group of islands. Traditions tells us that “Datu Lapu-Lapu” was sent by the Bisayans of North Borneo to free the “Visayans” from their cruel king.
Although the exact population numbers are unknown, it is estimated that they Visayans comprise about half of the entire population of the Philippines. The Visayan language consist of Cebuano, Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a, Waray and other Visayan languages.
In the late 1990s, I’ve read a report somewhere that there are more Visayans than there are Tagalogs in Metro Manila. (I just wonder why the national language “Filipino” has more Tagalog words than Visayan when the Visayans comprises the majority of the Philippines in terms of population. I have nothing against the Tagalos but I believe this should be changed as in my opinion this is contrary to Republic Act No. 7104 which requires that the national language should be “developed and enriched by the lexicon of the country’s other dialects and languages.” Well this will be made subject of another post)
We spent the afternoon going around the booths and the various exhibits at the Cebu International Convention Center. Of interest to me were the products from the different cities and municipalities from the Visayas, paintings done by Visayan Artists, the old “Great grandmother Habuwan” which is still in use until now(Great grandmother “Spinning Jenny”) and the booths showcasing the tourists attractions that the various cities and municipalities in the Visayas has to offer.
In the evening we went back to enjoy the cultural presentations. Various dances from Visayan cities and municipalities were presented. Governor Gwendolyn Garcia gave a speech and the batton was passed to the next host of the One Visayas which happens to be Capiz province. I hope we have something like Westgate reservations so I can reserve my travel plans to Capiz next year 🙂 A One Visayas Summit on Climate Change is also planned to be slated within this year.
Jose Rizal once said “Ang hindi lumingon sa kanyang pinangalingan ay higit pa sa hayop at isang malansang isda” ay . . . este tama ba ? Sayop diay hehehehehe It goes like this “Ang hindi lumingon sa kanyang pinangalingan ay hindi makarating sa kanyang paroronan” (Translated in English as “He who does not know how to look back at where he came from will never get to his destination.”)
One Visayas certainly gave us the opportunity to revisit and treasure our heritage. Antique Governor Salvacion Perez rightly captured the words I wanted to express about what this has achieved when she said that through it, “We made arts and culture as a vehicle of unity.”