A day-long festival highlighting the annual city fiesta celebration. The main feature is the Bonok-bonok, an ethnic Mamanua (IPES) dance performed by the natives during thanks giving, worship and wedding ceremonies.
The introduction to the celebration of the Maradjao-Karajao Festival is the Bulawanon Barangay "Bulawanon" means beautification. Before the Bonok-bonok festivity held, preliminary contest between the 22 barangays of Surigao City and 9 coastal barangays is ongoing to highlight the month-long festivity that livens up to the household of each respective family of Surigao City.
Other activities are street dancing participated by different private government groups using creative costumes, huge floats and entertaining chanting "Viva Señor San Nicolas! Viva Maradjao Karajao!".
Tourism potential aside, Surigao is more importantly home to one of the country's most colorful tribes, the Mamanwas. Known for their creative patterns, brass jewelry and indigenous crafts, the Mamanwas fill the streets dancing during the Bonok Bonok Maradjao Karadjao festival on September 9. Celebrated on the occasion of the feast of San Nicolas de Tolentino, the Bonok Bonok shows the natives' gratitude to their animistic gods for a bountiful harvest and good health.
A collection of antique archaeological diggings like burial coffins jars and antique Chinese kitchen wares discovered in Panhutungan, Placer is on public display at the Surigaonon Heritage Mini-Museum situated at the Boulevard in Surigao City.
HISTORY OF BONOK-BONOK
One of the oldest and still existing tribes in the Philippines is the Mamanwas, who are quite alike to the Negritoes in physical profile. Although forced to settle in the hinter islands because of the arrival of development, they still practiced, however, their customs and traditions. Among these is the faith about “KAHIMUNAN”, a tribal festivity, where music and graceful dancing are typical features. They chant and play accompanied with their instruments, such as: the gimbar (drum), the gong and the bamboo called the “kalatong” and “katik”. A “baylan” or priest preside the celebration as a tribute to their God, “MAGBABAYA” and ancestors for good health and abundant harvest intercessions.
During the “kahimunan” or ancestral festivity, wild pigs, chicken and different fruits are offered to the ancestors. A thanksgiving dance called “BONOK-BONOK” is presented by the different village chieftains and babaeyons. Happiness and friendship are expressed through dancing, shouting and singing. They wave scarves of “BANAY” as signs of good will, wealth and blessings for the whole tribal village.
Thus, Bonok-Bonok is a ritual dance which originated from these early settlers. The rhythm usually starts with a slow beat and slowly gets faster, causing the dancers to work at pace with the music. Adding to the attraction of the dance is the colorful costumes, which includes beaded headdresses or tubaw, bracelets and anklets of the women. The ceremonial dress of the men and women are likewise elaborate in design, and of various colors.
The dance ritual has been brought down through the generations and still being practiced today. In respect to the Patron Saint San Nicolas de Tolentino, the people have already adopted the “Bonok – bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw” Festival which is a reflection of Surigao’s rich cultural heritage.
Held in honour of the city’s patron, San Nicolas de Tolentino, this famous Mardi Gras celebration features street parties and traditional ethnic dance rituals. The day-long festivities take place in the area around the Provincial Sports Complex which is a great place to see the many different dancers perform. This deeply traditional event is a way of asking the gods for excellent health and abundant harvests
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