BONTOC, Mtn. Province – The staging of the major events of the Lang-ay Festival 2016 is once again reset with no definite date pending the conduct of a meeting of the Lang-ay Festival Council.
This recent development is brought about by the death of the late Gov. Leonard Mayaen who succumbed to cardiac arrest last March 31, 2016 on the eve of the Lang-ay Festival.
Last April 1, 2016, the Lang-ay Festival was opened without the correlated festivities such as the parade with street dancing in deference to the mourning mood that gripped the province.
The agro-trade fair was also subsequently opened to run until April 10, 2016 parallel to the conduct of the various events of the festival when business is expected to perk up.
However, with the prevailing uncertainty, the exhibitors now are claiming to be unhappy with the loss in expected sales and income. It remains to be seen if both sides will agree on terms as remedy to the situation.
During the opening program, the Lang-ay Chairperson Paulino Tumapang, Jr. announced that the staging of the festival is reset to April 14, 15, and 16. The announcement was relayed to the media hoping that the information be promptly disseminated to the public.
He said that he consulted the municipalities by phone and the consensus is to reset the schedule and they are amenable for April 14, 15, and 16. The announcement was also with the go signal of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan through then Vice Governor Lacwasan.
But last Monday, in the meeting of the Heads and Assistant heads of offices of the provincial government and presided by then Vice Governor, and now Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., it was decided that the festival be rescheduled to an appropriate date after the 40 days of mourning.
It is part of the Igorot culture that if anyone dies, in this case, the father of the province, a more than a month “ngilin” or mourning must be observed by the bereaved family members and relatives, in this case, the province and people.
Suggestions were made that the conduct of the major events be reset to May 12, 13, and 14 after the elections and another is to move it to June 12, as part of the Independence Day celebrations. The third proposal is to cancel the staging of the Lang-ay Festival this year.
A concern was raised to involve the municipalities in the decision making, they being the main actors in the festival. “70% of the major role and participation in the various events are with the different municipalities”, quips Tumapang denoting that the participation of the municipalities is needed.
On Monday, April 11, the municipal mayors, Municipal Tourism Action Officers, the Municipal Coordinators for Lang-ay, and the concerned offices of the provincial government are invited to a meeting to decide once and for all the fate of the Lang-ay Festival this year.
Considering that long and intense preparations have already been done, the body may just reset the schedules after the elections as earlier proposed.
By Roger Sacyaten