Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Catmon's Budbod Kabog Festival

Situated more than fifty kilometers north of Cebu City is a beautiful place called Catmon, where radiant people flash beautiful smiles that exude an air of warmth and hospitality to visitors. Composed mainly of mountain barangays that outnumber the coastal areas, Catmon thrives to be one of the better producers of agricultural products to date.

One of its unique specialty products is the Budbod Kabog.

A true blue Visayan could easily recognize the word "Budbod", a delicacy made of cooked "pilit" rice that is rolled like a "lumpia" in banana leaves. But "kabog"? "Kabog" is Visayan for bat. Thus, Budbod Kabog could easily be mistaken as bat meat. But contrary to wrong belief, Budbod Kabog is made up of kabog seeds that is harvested, processed and cooked to be a delicious meal. The plant is called kabog being the favorite food of the kabog birds. Mountain dwellers soon found the seeds edible and devised a way to produce the Budbod Kabog. The rest was history.

The Municipality of Catmon, coming up to its municipal counterparts who have introduced their respective festivals into the limelight and into the pages of the Department of Tourism's calendar, launched its 2nd Budbod Kabog Festival last Saturday where seven participating barangays, mostly coming from coastal areas, vied for the plum prize. For the record, only one mountain barangay, Tinabyunan, joined the competition and was even sponsored by a coastal barangay, Corazon. Mountain barangays are really far, taking four to six hours to get to town. This writer even had his share of the experience as the "habal-habal" motorcycle could no longer carry its load through a steep rocky injunction at one of his ocular inspections. (However, the adventure was really worthwhile).
Painstaking process
The festival's first ever resounding success owed its triumph to a painstaking process that started some six months earlier, born inside the conference room of Mayor Estrella Aribal where she was joined by Vice-Mayor Avis Monleon, SB Members, committee members and crew who carefully planned the festival. Budget design was proposed that included a festival director and a jingle. Soon enough, with careful research by the organizers, the finalization of basic steps and beat took effect while Mr. Elvis Somosot of Musikinesis Recording Studio composed and arranged the Budbod Kabog festival theme. A dance workshop followed introducing the jingle to workshop participants comprised mainly of local choreographers who were tasked to choreograph their respective barangays. Then a series of ocular inspections took place prior to the final general rehearsal of sorts before the festival date.
Basic Beat and Steps
The Budbod Kabog Festival is an occupational festival demonstrating and simulating the process and preparation of the Budbod Kabog. Dressed mainly in rural attire, the dancers show eight basic steps:

Step 1. "Kabhig". Bending of the trunk with the right arm extending to the floor simulating planting of the kabog seeds.

Step 2. "Bugaw". Extended arms wave the hands upward to distract the birds, shooing them before they consume the ready-to-harvest seeds.

Step 3. "Kayog" or "Hakot". Shows the harvest of the seeds by cutting the plant stalks with a sickle.

Step 4. "Gi-ok". With feet in parallel tortillier, the movement demonstrates the actual separation of the grain from its stalk.

Step 5. "Asod". Is the pounding of a large wooden pestle on a large wooden mortar. The alternate pounding of two pestles that break the shell off from the grain is the basis of the Budbod Kabog beat. (The rest would be support percussion from the kalatong or other percussive instruments).

Step 6. "Alig-ig". Final separation of the grain from the shell through the use of a "hapag", an oblong indigenous container.

Step 7. "Pasiko". Circular rotations of the "luwag", large cooking spoon with an elongated handle.

Step 8. "Kilikiti". Wrapping of the Budbod Kabog in banana leaves. The process is concluded with "paibog" or enticing the onlookers to "tilaw" or taste the delicious delicacy.
Dayon kamo sa Catmon
So the jingle goes.

Catmon, unknown to many, offers a lot of nature-filled escapades suited for the adventurer in you. For one, white-pebbled beaches spread across the shoreline, hot spring "Mainit" awaits in the highlands, scenic spots such as the "Bantayan sa Hari and mountains reminiscent of "Lost" or "Congo" cover the terrain with lush greens, perfect for trekking and camping.
The performers
This year, the LGU decided to sponsor a group of dancers to represent the municipality in all its socio-cultural undertakings. Thus, the Budbod Kabog festival dancers will serve as the official dance troupe of the local government.

Trained with the basics and introduced into the world of cultural dancing, twenty hopefuls performed the Budbod Kabog jingle last Saturday, demonstrating the preparation of the product. They will be poised to perform in future invitations of the Province.
The contestants
Seven contingents from different coastal barangays competed in the street dance and virtual showdown competition. Beating six other contestants was the contingent coming from barangay Panalipan with its first major win. Their victory was attributed to their brilliant performance, costume and discipline. Barangay Catmondaan landed second and San Jose, third. Flores finished fourth and Corazon, fifth. The other two contingents who didn't make it were Binongcalan and Macaas, the former, although competitive in performance failed to impress the judges with their Cordillera suite. The rationale, why present the rice terraces and its people's way of life when the setting is far-fetched from Catmon?

The judges were Ricky Ballesteros of the Sinulog Foundation, Inc., Ms. Francita "Nene" Pacana of USC Main PE Dept., Dr. Norberto Torbeso of DepEd Cebu, Bong Lofranco of Banoansaka Ethnic Ensemble and Oliver Figuerroa, choreographer - Mantawi festival dancers.

The showdown culminated with a grand finale which starred all participants dancing to the tune of "Budbod Kabog", much to the surprise of the spectators to include the LGU officials themselves who didn't have the opportunity to take a glimpse at rehearsals and 5th District Board Member Hon. Agnes Magpale who was all-praises with the finale.

And though all good things must come to pass by the end of the day, the festival achieved its goal of presenting the "pride" of Catmon - the budbod kabog. Heartfelt congratulations to its organizers. Happy eating, everyone!

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