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Kuyamis Festival- Exploring Misamis Oriental’s Street Dancing Celebration

The most anticipated event in the province of Misamis Oriental is about to happen as the Kuyamis Festival 2019 is set to celebrate early next year from January 07-11, 2019 with different activities, and exciting events folded into a week-long festivity.


Every second week of January sets the annual celebration of the Kuyamis Festival, the official festivity of the Province of Misamis Oriental that also highlights the celebration of the province’s founding anniversary which will be on its 89th year; the province was created on November 02, 1929 through Legislative Act No. 3537 which took effect on January 01, 1930. Now on its 6th year, Kuyamis Festival is a brainchild of Governor Yevgeny “Bambi” Emano when he assumed office in 2013, about 5 years ago.

One of the activities that highlight the event is the Kuyamis Festival Street Dancing. It is an annual festivity of thanksgiving, and acknowledgement to the earlier customs of the “lumads” who thrived in Misamis with a variety of sweet coconuts as their basic foodstuff. The celebration is marked by merry making of coordinated dances and songs while showcasing the coconut as a tree of life.

Misamis Oriental with a land area of 3,575 square meters is located on the north of Bukidnon, on the west of Agusan del Norte, and east of Iligan Bay bounded on the north of Macajalar Bay and the Bohol Sea.

But did you know that the word “MISAMIS” have few versions of how it came about?

THE ORIGIN OF MISAMIS

During the earliest account before the Spanish conquistadores’ arrival in the Philippine archipelago, Misamis Oriental was under the flourishing and highly-civilized Rajahnate of Butuan, an Indianized Kingdom that dominated the Northern part, considered as one of the six “Great Kingdoms of Mindanao”. The old Misamis is said to be part of the coastline called Caraga that starts from the coastline of Surigao and reaches as far as Dapitan in Zamboanga Peninsula.

Accordingly, original inhabitants of the province were the Mountain Dwellers and non-muslim Lumads such as the Manobo and Subanen who gradually retreated following the influx of different dwellers and migrants. Europeans such as the ancient world colonizers Spanish and Portuguese, including Asian seafarers such as Indonesians, and Malays have had a number of testimonies through oral tradition of coming across “small golden colored nuts” that grow only in the coastal areas of the Pacific islands that the natives used as food.

Version: KUYAMIS

“Misamis” folk etymology is said to have been derived from the word “Kuyamis”, a Subanon term which means a variety of coconut. This type of coconut has a golden colored exocarp or the outer layer that are smaller in size, the water or the coconut milk, the coconut meat, and the coconut apple (the spongy mass) are said to be soft and sweet. The inner coat or called the shell on the other hand is bitter although soft.

During those years, the name was persisted as an inference of geographical location and upon the advent of the Spanish settlers, the word easily gave way to the more conveniently pronounceable but tainted word “Misamis”.

Version: MISSA

Another version came into existence that “Misamis” got its name from the word “missa”, a Spanish term for the Eucharistic Mass. It was said that during the Spanish era where Christianity was at peak in the Philippines, the word “missa” was shouted by native converts every time priests traveled around the province. Overtime, the Spanish missionaries started calling it as Misamis.

Whichever source it derived its name from, Misamis Oriental will be holding the 6th Kuyamis Festival Street Dancing Competition on January 11, 2019 from the Provincial Capitol Grounds to the Pelaez Sports Center from 7am to 11am with 14 contingents from different municipalities in the province.

The upcoming celebration will remind us about the passion of the long forgotten history that has been reclaimed through this visual stories that will again came into existence through significant impressions, and various steps of vocal and dance festival.


More photos at (click the link to navigate):

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