Bonga Festival is a lively thanksgiving celebration for the abundance of the town’s natural and food resources.
The term ‘bonga’ is a transliteration of the English word for fruit, or ‘harvest’ for a wider meaning. This harvest festival is annually celebrated on October 12.
This festival coincides with the celebration in honor of the town’s patron saints – St Felomina and Our Lady of Pilar.
Dressed and adorned with colorful and various costumes, the street dancers and performers gladly promote the town’s produce and native products.
Musicians of all ages play musical instruments, beat the drums and some groups perform the rondalla string ensembles, which usually includes guitars, bass (bajo), and banduria.
Fiestas are originally established at the heart of the town especially during the Spanish period to celebrate a town’s patron saint.
This tradition is being celebrated annually but has developed into a more colorful and vibrant festivity while keeping its religious tone. The solemn parade of the town’s patron saint is now being accompanied with performers with colorful costumes and elaborate paraphernalia.
This thanksgiving and prayerful celebration is now being organized by Sibonga’s officials to promote the town as a fruit-producer and fertile town.
The street dancing and ritual showdown competitions are forms of supplication for greater progress and bountiful harvest of fruits, vegetables, more farm produce; fish and other sea food products.
The whole festivity surrounds around the harvest theme, which is visibly reflected in the costumes and atmosphere of the activities.
For many years of celebrations, the contingents of the competitions were limited to school students only.
However, the mayor and the organizers of 2015 year’s celebration included various sectors in the community to further encourage participation in the festival.
For the ritual showdown dancings, elementary students and high school students are the usual and traditional contingents. However, this time more sectors have been taken in including senior citizens group, women’s organization and an LGBT group (BAKHLAH) among other sectors of Sibonga’s community (Source: Sun Star Cebu, August 16, 2015).
Before or after joining the Festival, you can
take a look around and explore places and sites in Sibonga. Some of
them, for example, are the following…
Church of Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragosa
It is a church built during the Spanish period in the 18th century. It is located right by the provincial highway, and which is just a few kilometers after Carcar and preceding Argao Municipality.
If you are a historical person and interested in historic heritages and sites, you will enjoy visiting Sibonga as well. Even to this day, you can see the prestigious abode of the Mercado family and Antebellum Ortiz family’s ancestral houses located on Kintanar Street.
Simala Church and Monastery of the Holy Eucharist or the popularly known by Cebuanos as ‘Birhen sa Simala’ is a great place to explore and offer prayers. It is located in Barangay Lindogon, Simala in Sibonga.
Certainly, there are more to be found, explored and enjoyed with when you are within and inside Sibonga Municipality.
Hope you’ll have an amazing and memorable experience in the area.