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Parade of giants to usher in Daragang Magayon Festival 2013

LEGAZPI CITY—Higantes, or giants, will once again parade and roam around Albay on April 1 this year to bring back guests and tourists to the days of legends when heroes battled monsters and beautiful maidens danced in twilight feasts.

Sixty-six higantes towering over 10 feet tall will spring up from Albay’s mythical past in a time warp that will fire the opening salvo, marking the start of the April monthlong celebration of Daragang Magayon Festival 2013.

Among the giant guests to meet and interact with are the half-serpent Oryol, the beautiful but venomous daughter of Aswang the anti-hero; the half-man, half-beast Rabot; the fiery Bonggo, whose eyes flash out fiery flames; Satyr Laki, the serpent Bakunawa which determines the seasons; Kulakog and Tandayag, the giant wild boars; and the crowd favorite Tambaluslos, who often taunt the women in the audience.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the parade of the higantes is a unique event as it is the only giant effigy parade in the country that is based on mythological characters documented as early as the mid-18th century by Fray Jose Castaños, Juan Alvarez Guerra and Fedor Jagore.

The giants, Salceda said, will be paraded around to “tell the story of the mythological, the mythical and the mystical beliefs of ancient Albayanos” as a reminder of their roots and anchor their unity in the pursuit of their prosperity goals in the future.

“In 2012, when it was first launched, the higantes parade easily was a smash hit engaging about 150,000 people mostly local residents but including foreign tourists,” Salceda said.

As staged, the higantes are known to face the audience and scare them, a memorable kind of interaction that highlights the Daragang Magayon Festival 2013 celebration as a whole.

Some 5,000 booklets, titled Mythos kan Albay (Myths of Albay) written by 2012 National Book awardee Abdon M. Balde Jr., will be distributed during the event to help spectators better appreciate the event as a showcase of the pre-Hispanic heritage of Albayanos.

The book Illustrations was done by Guinness Book of World Records holder “Sili King” Gonzales and the event is managed by Albay provincial art curator Apo Gonzales. The booklets are available at the Albay Provincial Tourism and Cultural Office on a first come, first- served basis.

The parade of the higantes is only one among the many events of the Daragang Magayon Festival 2013. Outdoor enthusiasts can also join the climb of the five mountains— among them, the perfect-cone Mount Mayon—or join island-hopping adventures, or just watch many other interesting events, including the Albay Daragang Magayon Beauty Pageant.





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