Naliyagan Festival (Province’s Founding Anniversary) in Agusan del Sur Date in the current year: June 17, 2024

Naliyagan Festival (Province’s Founding Anniversary) in Agusan del Sur Naliyagan Festival (Pistang Naliyagan) is an annual six-day festival held in the Philippine province of Agusan del Sur. It starts on June 12 (Philippines Independence Day) and culminates on June 17 (the province’s founding anniversary). The final day of the festival is a special non-working holiday in Agusan del Sur.

Agusan del Sur is a Philippine province in Carago region of the island of Mindanao. Its name derives from the word agasan, which means “where the water flows”, and refers to the Agusan River. The history of Agusan del Sur is closely connected to the history of its sister province, Agusan del Norte.

During much of the Spanish colonial era, the territory of Agusan Valley was divided between the districts/provinces of Misamis and Surigao. The province of Agusan was officially created in 1907; it consisted of two sub-provinces: Bukindon (split from Misamis) and Butuan (split from Surigao). Bukindon became an independent province in 1914, and Butuan assumed the name Agusan. On June 17, 1967, Agusan was split into two provinces; Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.

Naliyagan Festival was formally inaugurated in 1993 at a gathering of all Manobo tribal leaders of Agusan del Sur, presided over by Governor Democrito O. Plaza, also known by his tribal name Datu (chief) Lipus Makapandong. The word naliyagan can be translated from the Manobo language as “the chosen one” or “the most loved one”.

Naliyagan is a week-long celebration and showcase of the arts and culture of the indigenous tribes of Agusan Valley that aims to demonstrate the province’s rich culture and heritage. Its program includes a trade fair, performances such as tribal dances and rituals, sporting tournaments, ethnic games, and other exciting events and activities.

The festival kicks off on Philippine Independence Day (June 12) with a traditional ritual carried out by a Manobo high priest, which includes welcoming the spirits of the forest with offerings of food, drinks and candles, and driving away the evil spirits. Meanwhile, Christians attend a special holiday Mass. Religious activities are followed by a flag-raising ceremony, the grand opening of the trade fair, and other events.

The second and third days of the festival are filled with competitions such as essay-writing contests and native sports and games. The main highlight of the fourth day of Naliyagan is a talent competition among participants of the Bae Naliyagan beauty pageant, representing 14 municipalities of the province. The pageant proper and the crowning of Bae Naliyagan (Miss Agusan del Sur) are held on the fifth day of the festival.

Naliyagan Festival culminates on its sixth day, June 17, which is the founding anniversary of Agusan del Sur and a special non-working holiday in the province. The program of festivities includes speeches delivered by various dignitaries and an ethnic street dance competition where each indigenous tribe of Agusan del Sur has the opportunity to show off their traditional dances and cultural practices. The celebration concludes with an award ceremony, lowering of the flags, and a thanksgiving Mass.

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Naliyagan Festival, founding anniversary of Agusan del Sur, holidays in the Philippines, regional observances