Bohol town promotes Karomata Festival
- Ric V. Obedencio (The Philippine Star) - September 14, 2012 - 12:00am

TRINIDAD, BOHOL, Philippines  – The municipal government, led by Mayor Roberto Cajes and Vice Mayor Frank Gonzales presented the Karomata Festival that is distinct from the usual street dance craze to showcase one’s best practices during its 65th Foundation Day recently.

Trinidad town has since adopted the carabao-drawn cart festival, which was conceptualized in 2007 under the then mayor Judith Cajes, wife of the incumbent mayor. By bringing fresh steps into the Karomata fest, the town has been taking the right direction, following Loboc town’s “Bolibongkingking” and Catigbian town’s “Katigbawan” festivals whose originality in steps and dance routines can be traced in their respective history.

For the Karomata Festival, streetdancers from five high school contingents depicted more of the mimes in a barter trade, one that led to the conceptualization of the festival, said Aniceto Petarco, the festival coordinator.

Petarco said that research showed that Trinidad town was once an informal settlement of migrants located along the river. These migrants were into trading their main products, such as buri fabrics, raw material for nets to keep people from getting bitten by mosquitoes, which abound in the area at the time, he said.

The buri fabric was known as cabizon, thus the name was also used to refer to the place. When Spanish friars arrived and established themselves in the area, Cabizon was renamed Ipil, in reference to the giant ipil trees abundant along the riverbanks.

With Ubay town and interior parts of nearby Talibon town into cattle ranching, Ipil became a convenient stop-over and trading center, engaged mostly in barter. People from the islands—bartering with products from the highlands—and traders from as far as Jagna and Guindulman towns (on the east) reached Ipil on carabao drawn carts with their produce.

Petarco said the long journey forced the traders to equip their karomata with roofs and provisions for sleeping and cooking while they hit the trails. Ipil was later renamed to what is now Trinidad in honor of the wife of then President Manuel Roxas.

These two barter movements and the karomata provided the spine for a festival, from which most choreographers got their inspiration, also said Jojeline Ruiz-Buendia, festival committee vice-chair and information officer.

A popular Boholano festival dance critic, Lutgardo Labad earlier commented over the propensity of some emerging festivals to copy the Sinulog steps of Cebu.

In Trinidad, however, Petarco assured the public that the Karomata Festival will be formally registered and recognized for its unique feature from proper authorities

Former mayor and now Municipal Administrator Judith Cajes hoped that the Karomata Festival will become a new source of pride among the young in Trinidad town.

(FREEMAN)

ANICETO PETARCO FESTIVAL FOR THE KAROMATA FESTIVAL FOUNDATION DAY IN TRINIDAD JAGNA AND GUINDULMAN JOJELINE RUIZ-BUENDIA JUDITH CAJES KAROMATA FESTIVAL PETARCO TOWN
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