T’nalak Festival + South Cotabato Travel Guide
T’NALAK FESTIVAL + SOUTH COTABATO TRAVEL GUIDE
Disclaimer: I was hosted by the Provincial Tourism of South Cotabato during my visit. However, all words written here were all mine. No need for the host to inlfuence me on what to write. My photographs I guess are enough to support my claim.
Just like the Dream weavers of South Cotabato who are responsible for making the beautiful abaca fabric, I had been dreaming of witnessing the T’nalak Festival.
This was the reason why despite the distance of South Cotabato from my place which is Bacolod, I really took the time to visit this part of the country.
It was quite challenging for me to reach this Province. I traveled first to Cebu and took another flight to General Santos. From Gensan, I traveled again for an hour by bus to reach Koronadal. Yes, it’s a long journey, but I tell you, it was all worth it.
Young T’boli dancers while preparing for the grand parade…T’nalak Festival + South Cotabato Travel Guide
ABOUT T’NALAK FESTIVAL
T’nalak Festival, held every month of July in Koronadal, South Cotabato is said to be one of the most authentic ethnic festivals in the Philippines.
The colorful festival got its name after the unique abaca cloth with beautiful geometrical patterns weaved by the T’boli women. As an icon of the festival, the T’nalak cloth represents the blending of culture and the rich heritage of the people of South Cotabato.
T’NALAK FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS AND EVENTS
Just like in most festivals around the country, the T’nalak festival is loaded with events that cater to various types of visitors. Below are just a few of what I have witnessed:
MUTYA NG SOUTH COTABATO.
This is an exciting event for apart from seeing the beauties, you will be seeing various creations of the local fashion designers using the T’nalak fiber.
All municipalities and cities of the province showcase their products all beautifully integrated into their Bahay Kubo. The creative and neatly-built huts made of Bamboo and other native materials represent each town and the livelihoods of its people.
CONCERTS AND STREET PARTIES.
For the young ones, several concerts and street are happening nightly spread in various locations of Koronadal.
T’NALAK FOOD GARDEN.
Along Alunan Avenue, you will find the T’nalak Food Garden which is a perfect venue to chill with friends. The place is also where some cultural presentation is being held.
I was made to witness the ADUSAY (Awit, Dula at Sayaw) Competition. This competition is between the Ten Towns and the lone city of the province. The competition showcased folk stories and legends creatively presented in songs, drama, and dances.
TRI PEOPLE GRAND PARADE.
For me, this is the highlight of the T’nalak Festival. The spectacular parade is held every 18th of July (mark your calendar for next year) along with the celebration of the Foundation Anniversary of the Province.
The parade was divided into three categories representing the Tri-People of South Cotabato namely: T’bolis, Muslims and the Christian settlers.
Madal Be’ Lan – This is the category for the T’bolis. It is quite interesting to note that in order to participate in a group one must have a T’boli blood.
Kadsagayan A Lalan – This category is the representation of the Muslim Group in the place.
Kasadyahan sa Kapatagan – This category represents the Christian Settlers who are migrants from Panay, Negros Island, and Ilocos.
T’NALAK FESTIVAL TRAVEL GUIDE
HAPPY TRIP T’NALAK FESTIVAL TRAVEL TIPS
- Bring enough memory cards for your camera, you will surely take a lot of photos.
- It would be great to use a versatile lens to take the shot that you wanted during the event. There are instances that you can get closer to the participants, while during the arena dance competition you are not allowed to leave your seat.
- If you are a blogger or media, you need to be accredited first. You may contact the Provincial Information office with their contact details below a month before the festival to know the requirements. Just be ready with your 2X2 ID picture.
- The dance parade would start promptly at 7 AM. So if you want to take photos of the participants before their actual performance. Be at the front of the Provincial Capitol at 6 AM.
- Accredited media men are given a good spot at the Arena Dance Showdown. However, during this time you must be ready to be exposed to the scorching heat of the sun, So don’t forget your sunblock as umbrellas are not allowed. A scarf to cover your face could be your perfect accessory. There is also a big chance of having some rain showers during the event, so be ready to cover your camera.
- Maximize your visit by having some extra trips outside Koronadal. If you are not familiar with the place, it would be best to drop by the office of the Provincial Tourism. They will surely be happy to help you.
OTHER ACTIVITIES THAT YOU CAN DO BEFORE AND AFTER THE T’NALAK FESTIVAL
- Visit Lake Sebu – Lake Sebu Travel Guide
- Experience Lake Sebu 7 Falls and Zipline
- Drop by General Santos City: Visit General Santos City Fish Port Complex
- Experience Pacman Adventour
- Industrial Tour at General Santos City
- Stay for a few more days at Saranggani and experience the 7 km white sand beach at Gumasa ( blog post coming soon)
- A quick trip to Baras Bird Sanctuary and Sultan Kudarat Provincial Capitol (soon)
HOW TO GET TO KORONADAL, SOUTH COTABATO
General Santos City is the closest Airport in South Cotabato. The moment you arrive at the airport, you need to take a ride going to the Yellow Bus Terminal to go to Koronadal City.
You have 4 options at the airport to reach the Yellow Bus Terminal:
1.The taxi which would cost you – P300
2. Jeepney – P50
3.Van (Air conditioned) – P100 (both van and jeepney will require you to wait for other passengers for a while or until the car is full.
4.Van which will bring you directly to Koronadal- P350 (if they cannot get the desired number of passenger, they will cancel the trip and bring you instead to the Yellow Bus terminal for P100 only)
From the Yellow Bus Terminal, take the bus traveling to Koronadal for P 100.
The moment you reach the terminal of the Yellow Bus in Koronadal, take a tricycle to bring you to your hotel.
IMPORTANT CONTACT DETAILS
PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE
Capitol Compound, Alunan Ave., City of Koronadal
Province of South Cotabato, Philippines 9506
Telephone No. (+63) (83) 228 3025 | Telefax No. (+63) (83) 228 8537 E-mail: email@example.com
ARTS, CULTURE, TOURISM AND SPORTS PROMOTIONS
UNIT 2nd Floor, Left Wing, South Cotabato Gymnasium, and Cultural Center
Alunan Ave., City of Koronadal
Province of South Cotabato, Philippines
Telefax No. (+63)(83) 228 3447 | Tel : (+63) (83) 878 2140 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
The blogger during the T’nalak Festival
SOUTH COTABATO TRAVEL GUIDE
South Cotabato is not only about the T’nalak Festival. The place offers a wide array of attractions that any guests may enjoy.
Below is the link to the travel guide I crafted to help any would-be visitors to this city.
WHERE TO STAY IN SOUTH COTABATO DURING T’NALAK FESTIVAL
Koronadal City has a wide array of Hotels and Inns to cater to any tourist visiting the place.
For a list of accommodation facilities in the Province of South Cotabato, click here: LIST OF HOTELS AND INNS IN SOUTH COTABATO
MORE TRAVEL GUIDES
Really Magnificent Nd Informational specially liked these cultural pics. Appreciated.
The festivals keeps the culture alive… great post
The pictures are amazing! I hope I will have the opportunity to visit this part of the world!
Photographs and narration are so nice.