On Sept 20, 2017, the Budayaw BIMPEAGA Festival of Cultures was held for the very first time. The festival, which was held in General Santos City in the Philippines and ended on Sept 24, showcased the rich culture, arts and heritage of the people of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. More than 300 artists, cultural workers, educators and development administrators were involved in the cultural event of immense scale.
What is Budayaw?
Budayaw is a festival that highlights arts and culture from different ASEAN countries through a series of performances, lectures, workshops, exhibitions and other activities. The words “budaya”, which is a Malay word that means culture, and “dayaw” – Filipino word for celebration, are combined to form the name Budayaw. The first edition was a collaborative effort by the Department of Tourism Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Local Government Unit of Sarangani, Local Government Unit of General Santos City and Mindanao State University.
The festival, which commemorates the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is aimed at raising public awareness and appreciation on the diversity of the people living within the BIMP-EAGA. It is also aimed towards the advancement of culture and development, benefitting everyone within the region.
Budayaw takes place once every two years, with a different member country hosting the event for each edition. The Philippines became the first country to host the festival, which drew thousands of spectators and participants to join in the colourful festivity and merriment.
Highlights from the first Budayaw
The inaugural Budayaw was themed ‘Taking Pride in the Creative Diversity of the BIMP-EAGA Region” and served as an avenue to promote unity among the people of different cultures within the region. Among the highlights of the festival were:
1.Colloquium and exhibition
One of the chief aspects of the festival, the colloquium and exhibition saw participants discussing and sharing their experiences on the development of culture and arts in the region. Participants also exchanged different ideas that might prove crucial in encouraging regional cooperation in the future. Held at the KCC Convention Hall in General Santos City, it featured three thematic discussions including “Cultural Exchanges in the EAGA Region before the Formation of Modern Nation States”, “Safeguarding Cultural Diversity and Exchanges in the BIMP-EAGA Region” and “BIMP-EAGA Cultural Exchange: Policies, Practices, Prospects”.
2. Dance, music and drama
This colourful showcase that took place at SM City Trade Hall 1 included stunning theatre, dance and music performances by groups from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Guests had the opportunity to witness the stunning works of artistic directors such as Nursyikmah binti Haji Muamad (Brunei), Dwipa Amboro Bima Cipta (Indonesia), Chris Pereira (Sarawak) and Bryan Ellorimo / Sakinur Delasas (Philippines), among others. The ethnic dances were a delight. They allowed the visitors and participants a chance at seeing Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam’s (Brunei) Rampak Kipah, West Sumatera’s (Indonesia) Piring Cupak, Sarawak’s (Malaysia) Rajang Be’uh and Pangasik, a classical dance from the Sulu Archipelago (Philippines) up-close, along with many other dances.
3. Youth Chorale Concert
Visitors to the first Budayaw also had the pleasure of being serenaded by five choirs from the BIMP-EAGA Region, each with a unique repertoire of songs from their respective countries, along with their interpretations of classic pieces from Asia and the West. The choir performances, which happened at the SM City Trade Hall 1, culminated in a joint performance of the festival’s theme, which was composed by ASEAN’s very own Joey Ayala.
4.Visual Arts Exhibits and Talks
Twenty-two visual artists from Sabah, Mindanao, Palawan and Brunei Darussalam gathered at the Veranza Mall Atrium for this stunning showcase of art in varying styles.
5. Ikat Master Weavers’ Pavilion Showcase
Master weavers from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia put their Ikat skills on display at SM City Trade Hall 2. Visitors got the chance to see them weaving intricate details into their Ikat and learn the little details that separate one country’s woven works from the other.
More to come
Budayaw BIMP-EAGA Festival of Cultures will make its comeback in 2019, with more cultural showcases that are set to thrill those who come to attend. Details on when and where next year’s festival will be held have yet to be revealed at press time. Go to https://www.facebook.com/ budayawfestival/ for the latest updates.
For more information, contact Ministry of Toursim, Arts, Cuture youth and Sports Sarawak at Permanent Secretary Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak, 2nd Floor, Bangunan Baitulmakmur, Medan Raya, Petra Jaya, 93050 Kuching, Sarawak. +6082 319 313 +6082 445 311 www.mtacys.sarawak.gov.my