Glan, Sarangani: A Glance Into Glan’s 100th
Canopies of green and yellow banderitas flew above the roads. The orchestrated sound of the wind and brass marching band echoed in streets. Landmark constructions were under way. Glan, Sarangani was quite occupied the day I arrived and at that moment, I didn’t had a single clue what was going on.
Sixteen Christian settlers who originated from the Visayan Islands came south into a remote Mindanaoan region the government referred to as Colony No. 9. Though groups of indigenous peoples called Lumad already inhabited this far-flung realm, the arrival of the 16 marked the dawn for new beginnings in Colony No. 9. It was October 1914 – the birth of Glan.
Present-day Glan. September 2014 approached its final days. I found myself in the middle of a historic celebration, an event which bears a priceless significance to its townsfolk – here, across the nation, and overseas. The locale was on their toes, working side by side, to ensure the success of the 15-day grand centennial celebration of Glan, Sarangani, “where it all started”.
A myriad of events occur daily for the vibrant two-week revelry. Here are some of the few I looked out for:
The coconut is the tree of life and Glan, the large coconut producing town, makes sure nothing is left to waste – from fruit to root. The Coconut Village showcases the various products from the coco fruit or the coco tree from the coco palm family. Every participating baranggay came up with unique schemes such as miniatures, dances, even videoke booths, to invite visitors into their well-decorated booths.
The rich culture and colorful traditions of Glan’s native inhabitants takes the spotlight in opening the Lumad Village. Muslims, B’laans, and Maranaos clad in traditional attire parade around the town plaza to commence the event. Cultural presentations also followed.
Lumad refers to the indigenous groups from Southern Mindanao.
Landmarks of Glan
New landmarks were built to commemorate the 100th founding year of Glan. A statue was built along the baywalk promenade dedicated to the pioneers of town. Another was fountain in between the town plaza and municipal building. It was unveiled a few days after I left for Davao.
Many household participated in municipal-wide event by holding huge family reunions. Preparations began with restorations of their ancestral homes. One of these gorgeous houses belong to the La Paz family whose family predecessors traced as far back as the early 20th century. I met Ate Mel, a descendant of the La Paz’s, who amid her busy schedule, gladly showed me around house. Maraming salamat po, Ate Mel.
Horses, horse owners and the entire entourage come from different parts of Mindanao (some come from Visayas as well) to participate in one of the awaited events in during the festivities – the horse fights. The slugfest is very much like cock-fighting, but with horses of course. Tournaments were held for 4 days to determine which horse has the right to be dubbed the king of the ring.
Horse fighting has been part of celebrations, not only in Glan, but in many parts of Mindanao.
No horse died during this event.
I imagined the final days of this backpacking trip relaxing on Gumasa‘s white sand beaches, bathing in clear water, and watching fiery sunsets. Instead, I was part of this milestone, as a spectator, about to witness history unfold, a new and significant chapter to the peoples of Glan. A perfect way to conclude this month-long journey.
To organizers and participants, to the people, the heart and soul, of Glan, congratulations to the successful celebration.
Arya Glan, Martsa!
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