SURIGAO City, the provincial capital of Surigao del Norte, recently celebrated the Bonok-Bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw Festival, a ritual dance which originated from its early settlers, the indigenous Mamanwa tribe. The festival literally means “heavy downpour” and “all the very best” based on the belief that the heavy rains ensure a bountiful harvest.
The dance festivities begin with the traditional Mamanwa purification ritual using incense to drive away evil spirits. It is followed by animated dancing accompanied by trumpets and percussion, with the participants clad in colorful raiment accented by tribal designs, such as the tubao scarf headdress, and brass bracelets and anklets.
Now on its 33rd year, Bonok-Bonok has evolved into the most award-winning and sought-after cultural festivals in Mindanao.The dance ritual has been passed on from generation to generation and is celebrated with reverence to San Nicolas de Tolentino, the city’s patron saint, and to reflect Surigao’s rich cultural heritage.
This year’s theme is “Sajaw para sa Kalinaw” (Dance for Peace), which highlighted the need to pursue a genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao and across the country.
The festivity also coincides with the 47th Charter Day Anniversary of Surigao, which included various socio-civic activities and cultural events. Dubbed the “City of Island Adventures,” Surigao is composed of pristine islands with fine, white-sand beaches, lush marine sanctuaries, mangrove forests and cave systems.