Showing posts with label THe Legend of Kansilay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label THe Legend of Kansilay. Show all posts

Friday, June 8, 2012

Silay City Charter Day Celebration: Hugyaw Kansilay!


Silay City became a city on June 12, 1957 by virtue of Republic Act 1621. The city then has 2 main fiestas, the Charter Day Celebration every June 12 of the year, and the Feast of San Diego de Alcala, it's patron saint, every November 13. But frankly, I don't remember any merrymaking or commemoration of the Charter Day when I was growing up. To me and for most Silaynons of my generation, the parish church's fiesta was always the one that the people celebrate.

However in the last 20 years or so, the Silay Charter Day Celebration has gradually taken over the parish fiesta as the primary festival of the city in terms of scope and grandeur. For the June festivities, the city government has week-long events that focus on the rich culture and history of Silay, while the November fiesta has activities that highlight the religious aspect of the celebration. For the last 4 years, Hugyaw Silay, Inc., an NGO whose objective is the promotion of tourism, culture and arts of the city, has been managing the charter celebrations of the city. The main features are the Lin-ay Sang Silay and the Hugyaw Kansilay Streetdancing Competition.

I am more interested in the street-dancing competition because the first and last time I saw it was when it was first introduced in the 90's.  This event disappeared for a while until it was again revived in 2008 by the current city administration.  The present-day competition is bigger and more dramatic depicting the ‘Legend of Silay’ through dancing, using a lively original musical composition of "Hugyaw Silay" and colorful costumes. The costumes must be made of indigenous materials. Each group is led by a maiden who represents Kansilay, a main character in the legend of how Silay got its name. Other characters of the folklore like the fairy, Diwata and the warrior, Lawaan are also represented.


The video above was taken during the opening of Panaad Sa Negros 2012 last April. Source: YouTube of Silay City Public Information Office.

‘Hugyaw Kansilay Festival’ of Silay City was chosen by the Department of Tourism as the official entry of Negros Occidental in the Kasadyahan Regional Cultural Competition in Iloilo City last January 2, 2012.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where Silay Got It's Name - The Legend Of Kansilay

Who was Kansilay?  Was she fact or fiction?  


Legend tells us that long before the Spaniards came to the shores of the island east of Panay, then known as Buglas, now Negros, there lived a beautiful lin-ay (maiden) named Kansilay in a village by the sea called Karobkob. She was the only daughter of Pinunong Bubog, the village head. Kansilay was betrothed to Lawa-an, a handsome and hard working “ulitao” (gentlemen) of the village and they were soon to wed. However before the wedding, Lawa-an joined the young men of the village for the yearly “ pangayam” (hunting for wildlife) which would be for one full moon. While they were away, pirates raided and plundered the village killing many including Kansilay's father. Kansilay gathered the other maidens and sought the help of the fairy Diwata who gave her a sword but was told that this is not a magic weapon. They fought valiantly but could not repulse the pirates. Lawa-an and the other men arrived in time to help and the pirates were defeated, but at the cost of Kansilay's life. In grief, the people lovingly buried her. One day, they saw a plant growing on Kansilay’s mound. The plant became a sturdy tree with purple-pink flowers, which they named after her, the first Kansilay tree, a tribute to a brave maiden.

That is the official version.

Other historians and history buffs give the supposition that if ever there was a Kansilay, the time period she lived was not during the datu and rajah era but much earlier. If this is true, then swords are not yet made at this time. But even this idea cannot be validated as there is not much information on the original settlers of Negros. The earliest date on record is 1565 and nothing much before that.

The original settlers of the island of Negros are thought to be of the Ati ethnic group also found in Panay, Bohol and neighboring islands in the Visayas. They most probably arrived from Borneo 20-30,000 years ago, through what is believed to be an isthmus that in the prehistoric times connected the Philippine archipelago to Borneo via a land bridge. According to some oral traditions, they also predate the Bisaya, who now inhabit most of the Visayas. An article written by Robert Lindsey says that the Ati of Negros have apparently gone extinct. This is not true. We still have Ati communities in the mountains of Silay, particularly in Sibato.

Our oral history has handed down the story of Kansilay through the centuries and preserved by our ancestors, so whether it is fact or fiction is not a really that important. Our beloved Silay exists and to me that is all that matters.

But now I wonder...was Kansilay an Ati or a Bisaya?

photo retrieved from http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/the-peopling-of-the-philippines/

source: GMA


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I am a member of the working class, first and foremost: a daughter, a mom, an auntie, a sister, a physician, a caregiver, the family driver and troubleshooter, house princess, devoted nurturer, concerned meddler, accidental blogger etc. I am not religious but I am a true Roman Catholic. I have great faith and trust in God's love and mercy.

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