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Sibugsay sa Sibugay Festival


Zamboanga Sibugay province, the youngest and the newest province in the Zamboanga Peninsula region will be celebrating the Sibugsay Sa Sibugay Festival from June 25 to July 1, 2012. Sibugsay is a fusion of two verbs- SIBUG ( to move forward) and BUGSAY (to paddle), explained Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Hon. Rommel Jalosjos . Combined, it means “ to move forward by paddling together”. Sibugsay encompasses three important words: SIBUG/say (to move), Si/BUGSAY (to paddle) and SIBUG(s) AY (the province). Sibugsay indicates a forward motion through coordinated action and activity. The word is easily identifiable to Sibugay as they are almost homophones.

The province used to be a territory of Subanens who dwelt along riverbanks and shorelines. Sibugay is a coastal province with 13 of its 16 municipalities being coastal. 70% of the Philippine population relies on fish for their protein source, and Sibugay, being a coastal province, is considered to be ecology conscious and help ensure the sanitariness of its waters as a service to the poor and the future generations.

According to Governor Jalosjos, Sibugsay means that the Sibugaynons are in the same boat. So, everyone is called to actively take part in paddling this boat to reach their common destiny “Our Sibugay, Our Tomorrow.” The paddle is a pro-ecology symbol since it is the traditional way of steering and moving the boat through human effort alone- hence, free from bunker fuel pollution.

The good governor further said that for Sibugay to reach their destiny, Sibugaynons first have to be ecology conscious for the sake of future generations,  and second, active participation of everyone (People’s Organizations, NGOs, GOs, Private Sector, Business Sector, Academe, Religious Sectors, etc.) for the general progress of Sibugay.

The Festival will pursue activities that are pro-ecology which includes clean and green drive through mangrove planting and cleaning along riverbanks, shorelines, esteros, side-streets, lawns of houses or schools or offices, Backyard vegetable garden contest, Fluvial parade and Annual Paddle Racing to raise environmental community consciousness, Street dance competitions based on the annual theme connected to Sibugsay concept, and cultural presentations and exhibits intended for cultural preservation.

Elementary, High School, College and Professional essay writing contests based on current theme will also be held. Also, there will be awarding of institutions and individuals for best ecological promotion and practices, Awarding of the cleanest municipality in Sibugay and cleanest barangay in Ipil. Each provincial department will also be assigned a space around the capitol perimeters to be beautified with flowers.

The department with the most beautiful floral garden and practices waste segregation will be awarded annually. And the search for Diwata ng Sibugsay. Governor Rommel also explained the concept of the Diwata search with DIWA- meaning spirit and TA/lon – meaning forest/wilderness, hence, each contestant in the Diwata ng Sibugsay represents the Diwata who embodies ecology.

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Cez J. Abuy

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