A beautiful culture frequently misjudged by society. A province whose community of both Christians and Muslims live in solidarity. A culture whose art is making waves in the contemporary world. The Land of Beauty and Bounty – Lanao del Norte.
For 11 years, Lanao del Norte has always made their presence felt amongst the grandeur of the Sinulog Festival with their colorful display of art and graceful performances from the large contingent. This year, however, due to recent happenings such as the Marawi siege and the typhoon Vinta which displaced hundreds of families, The Land of Beauty and Bounty needed more manpower in the province. Because of that, they decided to slim down their participation in the festivity.
“Participation in Sinulog has been a tradition of Lanao del Norte. It was important for us to have a representation, that’s why we decided to make it a float instead of a full contingency,” said Aliah Dimaporo-Cimafranca, the contingent’s Creative Director.
It was Aliah’s mother Lanao del Norte Governor Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, a Liloan-native, who started this tradition of joining the annual festival. “She wanted to showcase Lanao del Norte as a ‘Land of Beauty and Bounty’ in contrast to the perception of people that it is a land of war. And the best platform to showcase this is at the grandest festival of the Philippines, which is the Sinulog.”
A formidable contingent
Over the years of joining Sinulog Festival, they have evolved from just being one of the contingents to besting all other participants to bag the top prize. In last year’s Sinulog, they emerged as the champion for the Free Interpretation category. Aside from awards and accolades, their talent pool also progressed over the years with a lot of talents wanting to have a chance to represent the province in the festival.
“We’ve discovered that The Land of Beauty and Bounty indeed had talent and skills to show the world that we are not the war-stricken region that people think we are. There’s a lot of joy in our province,” said Aliah.
For their float’s concept, Lanao del Norte wanted to celebrate the Maranaos and to commemorate Marawi and the hardships that they’re experiencing right now.
“We want to be one with Marawi by showing the world, through this platform, that it is a beautiful culture. It’s not a violent culture, it’s a beautiful culture that is misinterpreted,” said Aliah.
A masterpiece of renowned artist Toym Imao, the Contemporary art-inspired float features the Okir – a design that is distinctly Maranao. “We want to show that we are modern. Maranaos and Lanao del Norte has a place in the contemporary art world,” she said.
It takes the form of a Lantsa (Maranao boat) and is surrounded by 17 Origami-like birds with mechanized wings – contemporary renditions of the Sarimanok, an iconic symbol of Maranao art. These birds represent the country’s 17 regions to show that they are one with the Philippines. It also has a seating area inspired by the architecture of a Torogan, the Maranao house. Completing the magnificent float are lights, dancers, and beats coming from native percussion instruments.
“It’s made of yarn to represent the threads used for weaving, the art of the Maranaos. A float that symbolizes something that’s woven. All of us have different stories that are woven into one. It is another symbolism of what unity is. We may all be different, we may do different things, we may have different beliefs, but together, we weave into one people and into one province,” Aliah said.