Surigao City, the provincial capital of Surigao del Norte, recently celebrated the Bonok-Bonok Maradjaw Karadjaw Festival, after a ritual dance that originated from its early settlers, the indigenous Mamanwa tribe. The festival literally means “heavy downpour” and “all the very best” based on the belief that the heavy rains ensure bountiful harvest.
The dance festivities begin with the traditional mamanwa purification ritual using incense to drive away evil spirits. It is followed by animated dancing accompanied by trumpets and percussion, with the participants clad in colorful raiment accented by tribal designs, such as the tubao scarf headdress, and brass bracelets and anklets.
Now on its 33rd year, Bonok-Bonok has become among the most award-winning and sought-after cultural festivals in Mindanao. The dance ritual has been passed on from generation to generation and is celebrated in reverence to San Nicolas de Tolentino, the city’s patron saint, and to reflect Surigao’s rich cultural heritage.
This year’s theme, “Sajaw para sa Kalinaw” (Dance for Peace), highlighted the need to pursue a genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao and across the country.