Lanao del Norte lead dancer Diana Therese Mejorada dances in front of the Cebu crowd during the street dancing competition of this year’s Sinulog Festival. Mejorada is also the reigning Ms. Lanao del Norte.

Cebu, Philippines – The province of Lanao del Norte (the Land of Beauty and Bounty), emerged as Sinulog 2016 Grand Mardi Gras Champion in the Free Interpretation category.  This year they featured the Sagayan Festival, besting fourteen (14) other contingents, including last year’s champion Abuyog, Leyte.

The concept of showcasing the Sagayan dance in this year’s Sinulog Festival is a fulfillment of Governor Mohamad Khalid Q. Dimaporo’s wish to emphasize Lanao del Norte as a peace-loving province where Muslims and Christians live together in harmony.

The Sagayan Festival is a cultural event performed during Araw ng Lanao del Norte. The festival depicts a war dance among Maranaos. It is said that the festival is based on the exploits of Bantugan, a legendary hero of Darangen epic of the Maranao tribe. During their ritual showdown, it showed how peace was achieved between the two warring tribes and with the intercession of the Holy Infant Child Jesus making them the instant crowd favorite and winning the judges’ nod in the free interpretation.

According to the chairman of the board of judges Nestor Jardin, former president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines during the press conference, “The concept and the theme of Lanao del Norte that they chose is really very relevant because it is about peace among followers of various religions. I think it is very timely.” He also lauded the group for their production design, costumes and props, which he described as “exemplary.”

During an interview with a local radio station DYLA anchored by Leo Lastimosa of ABS-CBN Cebu, provincialinformation officer Lyndon G. Calica said, “what we showed there is the unity and peace amidst diversity, in order to have peace and unity, we must respect each other, respect each other’s religion, respect each other’s culture.”

At present, Lanao del Norte’s population is composed of forty (40%) percent Muslims and sixty (60%) percent Christians.

This year’s contingent is composed of students from the progressive town of Kapatagan headed by municipal mayor Benjie Y. Baguio.

The Land of Beauty and Bounty also won the “Best in Musicality” and “Best in Costume” awards. (Tsedeng)

Winners of Sinulog 2016 Grand Parade Showdown:

Best in Ritual Showdown
1st Place : The Land of Beauty and Bounty, Lanao del Norte
2nd Place: Tribu Katbalaugan, Catbalogan City, Samar
3rd Place : Tribu Buyoganon, Abuyog Leyte
4th Place : Tribu Himag-Ulaw, Placer Masbate
5th Place : Lumad Basakanon

Best in Costume (Free Interpretation Category):

The Land of Beauty and Bounty, Lanao del Norte

Best in Musicality (Free Interpretation Category)
1st Place : The Land of Beauty and Bounty, Lanao Del Norte
2nd Place: Don Sergio Osmena Sr. Memorial National High School
3rd Place : Tribu Buyoganon, Abuyog Leyte
4th Place : Lumad Basakanon
5th Place : Tribu Himag-Ulaw, Placer Masbate


1st Place : Tribu Buyoganon, Abuyog, Leyte
2nd Place: Tangub City’s Sinanduloy Cultural Troup
3rd Place : Kulturang Placereno
4th Place : Carcar City Division
5th Place : Lumad Basakanon


Best in Ritual Showdown:
1st Place  : Kulturang Placer – Masbate
2nd Place : Carcar City Division
3rd Place : Tangub City’s Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe
4th Place : Danao City
5th Place : Municaplity of Tuburan

Best in Musicality

1st Place : Tangub City’s Sinanduloy Cultural Troupe
2nd Place: Kulturang Placere – Masbate
3rd Place : Municapility of Tuburan
4th Place : Panglao, Bohol
5th Place : Carcar City Division

Best in Costume
Kulturang Placere – Masbate