By Rhaydz B. Barcia
LEGAZPI CITY---Street dancers from the sunflower city of Albay bagged the championship prize in the Ibalong street dancing competition here.
The Ibalong festival is based on ancient Bicol epic.
Dancers from Ligao City National High School were adjudged best performers among the nine competing contingents in one of the toughest local street dance competitions that showcases Bicolanos’ resiliency, love and protection of environment, heroism, unity in times of crisis and natural disasters.
Second placer was Anislag National High School of Daraga, Albaywhile the third prize went to Sorsogon National High School (Tribu Sornahay) from the nearby province.
The street dancing competition depicted the Ibalong epic featuring Bicol’s ancient heroes and upbeat music using indigenous materials while parading around the city’s main thoroughfares.
Mayor Noel Rosal said the Ibalong Festival is different from other festivals in the country because it focuses on the fight against climate change and survival long before world leaders discussed and came up with Paris agreement.
“Ibalong Festival is the most unique festivity in the country as the only epic and celebrates the people’s resiliency, given the string calamities that regularly hit our area even during the ancient times,” Rosal said.
The festival was originally held in the month of October but was moved in August to avoid falling into the typhoon season and take advantage of the rush of tourists in the province.
“We are the living example of resilient people who rise up after the series of natural disasters that hit us as it was in the ancient times of the heroes off Ibalong. Today, Legazpi is now the Philippines’ best city surpassing other biggest cities that is because of our unity, for rising beyond natural calamities and pushing development like shown by our heroes in Ibalong,” Rosal said referring to the latest award it received as the country’s most competitive component city.
The street dance competition is the finale of the month-long Ibalong Festival.
At least nine contingents participated in the colorful and exciting event. The best performers received P500,000 in cash, excluding the prizes on exhibition, best music and sound, best costume and props, and moving choreography with prizes ranging from P50,000, P30,000 and P20,000. The second prize winner received P300,000 while the third placer received P200,000.