Biniray Festival Celebrates the Bounty of the Sea and Indigenous Culture in Bulalacao

The Biniray Festival in Bulalacao, Or. Mindoro, is probably the most colourful festival in Mindoro Island. The two-day Biniray Festival celebrates the bounty of the sea, rivers & land, and indigenous culture with parades, dancing, feasts and displays. Fiestas celebrating the Santo Nino, the image of the Holy Child Jesus, are popular in many parts of the Philippines

Starting with the parade of boats, the Biniray Festival, takes visitors on a tour of the history and culture of southeast Mindoro, without ever leaving Bulalacao town. The boats are decorated each year according to a theme proposed by the fishermans’ association and almost every fishing boat in the community participates in a parade around Bulalacao Bay; upon returning to the town pier a feast of freshly caught seafood is offered along with dancing and merriment. More parades through the town by schools and barangay groups mean that music and dance are found at every turn. The indigenous Mangyan peoples come down from the mountains of Bulalacao to offer samples of their native handicrafts and many wear their traditional loincloth dress so a fully charged camera battery is a must.

The main event during the second day of celebration is the competitive street dancing by all of the local schools. Costumes and choreography are the key to winning the competition but enthusiasm and enterprise play their part too. Audience applause can also be a factor in the final judging, so everyone is encouraged to loudly recognise outstanding performances and costumes. The finale to the two-day Biniray Festival is the grand dinner hosted by the Mayor in the municipal games hall. Here the party goes on well into the night with more cultural and modern, dance and song.

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