Mindanao to host first EAGA cultural fest

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A festival that will showcase the cultural diversity of the Brunei Darussalam Indonesia Malaysia the Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) is slated to take place in various Mindanao cities in the Philippines next year.

Dubbed as the 1st Budayaw BIMP-EAGA Festival on Culture and the Arts, the week-long festival aims to promote appreciation of the sub-region’s rich heritage and culture of its neighboring ASEAN countries. It will showcase the creative works of more than 300 cultural practitioners from the sub-region.

The conduct of the festival was one of the agreements sealed during the recently concluded BIMP-EAGA Socio-Cultural and Education (SCE) Cluster Meeting, in which key officials and representatives from the sub-region gathered here in the city to develop initiatives that will harness greater understanding and solidarity among the multi-cultural populations of the BIMP-EAGA.

Gerardo Reynaldo, development management officer of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), said the Budayaw Festival aims to feature the cultural movers from the BIMP-EAGA by giving them a platform that will honor their significant contributions to the socioeconomic development of the sub-region.

“We are looking at establishing networks of stakeholders that will help leverage the works of these artists to a more prominent scale,” Reynaldo said.

The festival will be divided into several sub-events, focusing on the fields of visual arts, photography, film, music, dance, and theatre. Among the highlights of the week-long event is a showcase of traditional weaving techniques from master “ikat” weavers across BIMP-EAGA.

“These events will take place simultaneously and will capture the colorful panorama of cultures that BIMP-EAGA has to offer,” said Adelina Suemith, executive director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Budayaw is a portmanteau of the Bahasa word “buda” which means “festival” and the Filipino word “dayaw” or “celebration”. The Budayaw Festival will be held in September 2017 across key areas in Mindanao including General Santos City and Sarangani Province. The event will also be in line with the commemoration of the 50th founding anniversary of the ASEAN cooperation.

Formally established in 2014, the SCE Cluster was endorsed by the Philippines to specifically cultivate a “people-centered” regional cooperation within BIMP-EAGA through opportunities that can promote human resource development and cultural diversity within the sub-region.

BIMP-EAGA was established in 1994 to address the socioeconomic development gaps within and across the sub-region particularly in less developed areas of the participating countries.

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