Ulat ni Vera Karuna C. Sudaprasert
After a six-year long wait, Barangay Bayog’s Palakayahan Festival is back in full swing. Marking the community’s 223rd founding anniversary, Bayog celebrated the festival’s much anticipated comeback last April 25 to 28, 2023 with a vibrant display of festivities.
From the words “palakaya” which means “to fish” and “anihan” which means “to harvest,” Palakayahan made its return this year after its postponement in 2017 to showcase the two main livelihoods which Bayog is known for: fishing and ornamental flower planting.
With Bayog’s long history dating back to as early as the 1800s, it was not until April 2007 that the local government decided to commemorate the community’s founding through a series of activities like motorcades, boating activities, inter-purok street dancing, an “Amazing Race”, and a “Binibining Bayog” beauty pageant.
A motorcade joined by tricycle drivers followed by an ecumenical ceremony kickstarted the launch of festivities.
On its second day, games began with the Palarong Pinoy, a series of traditional Filipino games that brought out the competitive spirit of residents. This was followed by an exciting game of volleyball and basketball, where local athletes showed off their skills and sportsmanship.
The third day featured a series of competitions, including the Tilapia Cooking Contest and the Flower Arrangement Contest, which highlighted the two main livelihoods of the barangay. The Hataw Kabataan dance contest also provided a platform for the youth to showcase their talent.
The event also gave small businesses the opportunity to introduce and sell their products, furthering the festival’s objective to promote livelihood.
The last day of the celebration was marked with a morning session of Zumba, aptly named Zumbayog. The festival concluded with a Ginang Palakayahan 2023 beauty pageant where contestants vied for the coveted crown. Unlike former pageants such as “Binibining Palakayahan”, the contestants of Ginang Palakayahan 2023 included married women and mothers.
For Bayog Chairman, Crisanto A.Tandang, the return of Palakayahan brings back joy to the community and hopes to bring the message that the barangay belongs to the people.
“Siyempre, nandoon ‘yung pagbabalik ng kasiyahan. Tapos, isa pa rin ‘yung pagkakaisa. Kasi minsan ang hirap i-[encourage] ang aming constituents na magpatawag ng ganitong pagpupulong. Pero ‘pag may mga ganitong mga activity, parang gusto namin ipa-feel sa kanila na ‘O, inyo ‘tong barangay, kami’y mga tigapamahala lang dito. Welcome kayo dito anytime na gusto n’yong pumunta,’” Tandang said.
(“Of course, we want to bring back joy. Another thing is unity. Sometimes, it is hard to encourage our constituents to call for these kinds of gatherings. But whenever we have these kinds of activities, we want them to feel that ‘Oh, this barangay is yours, we are only the ones leading here. You are welcome here anytime that you want to come.’”)
After three years of lockdown and six years of postponement, Bayog’s Palakayahan Festival brought joy and fostered unity among its residents and neighboring communities. Beyond the festivities, the festival helped inspire the youth to actively participate in the barangay’s affairs and foster engagement with one another.