Helobung Festival – Never Ending Joy

Since I have yet to finish writing about my trip to Lake Sebu, and I have already gone on another epic adventure that needs to be penned down – well, I’ll just have to utilize “a picture tells a thousand words” strategy.

helubong (n.) – a native T’boli word which translates to ‘never ending joy’

tribal leaders bringing symbolic offerings
The day’s activities start off with various tribal leaders bringing symbolic offerings
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Part of the closing ceremonies is a cultural dance presentation by various groups. Love their colourful traditional wear!
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Children are also dressed up in traditional costumes for their yearly dance competition amongst schools.
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They’ve got the beat.  Musicians playing for the dance competition.
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Five boys play this single bamboo as a back-up instrument. Synchronized drumming.
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Even nanas come out to watch the show, and they come prepared. Brollies came to good use in the middle of the day.
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After the morning’s activities, we paid a visit to National Living Treasure & Artist Lang Dulay. We stepped into her home and workshop, and saw how the T’nalak fabric is woven. The first step is binding the hemp fibres into patterns, which usually comes to Lang Dulay in her dreams. Hence the nickname ‘dreamweaver’
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The bound fibres are then dyed and split into repetitive patterns for weaving by hand.
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Believe it or not, they press the fabrics using this cowrie shell!
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And this is the ironing board. The shell goes onto the end of that bowed bamboo piece attached to the ceiling.
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Day three is a visit to the waterfalls. Unfortunately, we only got as far as falls number two (out of seven). It was spectacular enough.
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One last look at the falls before we go.

Unlike most tourist destinations, Lake Sebu isn’t buzzing with activity.  It’s quiet, remote, and very laid-back.  Go there and admire the view, smile at the locals, pick up some interesting trinkets along the way.  Eat tilapia.  Take nothing photos.  Leave nothing but footprints – and pray that the T’boli way of life continues to be preserved.

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