Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Siwawer Festival at Vintar’s 100

The town of Vintar has recently celebrated its 100th year. This was a former part of the town of Bacarra until it gained independence as a new town in the year 1909. This is a 1st class municipality of the province of Ilocos Norte.

Its name was derived when an Augustinian missionary who was brought by Spanish commander Juan de Salcedo in the year 1574 to pioneer evangelization of Ylocos who visited this place. He wanted to meet the heads of the barangays and the guide let them form a line saying it in the vernacular “Ag-Intar kayo man basit,” which means “Please form a line.” Then a V shape was formed from the line. Out of these observations, the missionary then coined the name of the town.

It was a coincidence that the shape of the V seemed to form the wings of a bird or an eagle. As I observed on my recent visit to Isic-isic, there were really a number of birds that hover around the mountains and rivers. We have seen canaoay which is commonly seen in the farm, eagle and the siwawer. This town is known for these birds. They have adopted the siwawer as the symbol of their municipality.

As a tribute to this specie of bird, Siwawer Festival was conceptualized, prepared and held for the first time to coincide with their centennial celebration.

I went early to the town and they had trade fair showcasing the produce of the different barangays. I even saw “baligot” a vegetable similar to the yam. The leaves and its bulb can be cooked into inabraw. Wood carvings of siwawer were on sale. The town is abundant with watermelon so I bought and ate the yellow watermelon. It was so sweet and refreshing.

The dance parade was participated in by groups of young people dancing to the different local tunes. They were in ants’ costumes, painted their bodies of charcoal, with siwawer or bird feathers, and in fishermen and farmers’ costumes. Floats of balikbayans were also paraded around. This was followed by a dance showdown.

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