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Maasin to launch 'Ajonay Festival' on 12th Charter Day
By Marcelo M. Pedalino
posted 17-Jul-2012  ·  
The “Ajonay Festival,” a mardi gras-like activity depicting local culture will be launched on August 10 during the 12th Charter Day celebration.

Organizers met yesterday at the Sangguniang Panlunsod session hall and decided to push through with the first public showing of the locally-coined “Ajonay Festival,” both as a street dancing attraction during the parade and later as a showdown after the anniversary program at the city gym.

City Tourism Officer Royeno Segovia who made the move said at least five national high schools in barangays will compete for the pilot showing of a mardi gras-like activity depicting local culture danced to the beat of a pre-agreed rhythm.

Last February, representatives from the academe and local businesses, including culture and arts aficionados agreed to come up with a festival the city can call its own that the people can relate to and identify with.

After a two-day brainstorming, a consensus was reached to have the “Ajonay Festival,” an activity that would reflect the natural hospitality of Maasinhons and their inborn willingness to do voluntary work be it on a personal level or community-oriented - a real “bayanihan” spirit.

While “Sinulog” in the Sinulog Festival in Cebu can be interpreted as the movement of a river or sea current or “sulog,” it was agreed that “Ajonay” can be interpreted to mean three distinct traits, such as a gesture of welcome (pag-abi-abi), a helping hand (pagtabangay) and a send-off or farewell (ajo-ajo).

“The dance steps and the beat will revolve around an agreed theme, and choreographers, who are assigned per school, will have to be creative as to how do it with class and finesse in under five minutes but not less than four minutes during the showdown,” Segovia said.

The schools chosen to perform in the “Ajonay Festival” launch are Libhu National High School, Manhilo National High School, Guadalupe National High School, Dongon National High School and Maasin City National High School in Barangay Combado.

The term “ajonay” refers to a long history of tradition in the locality wherein neighbors, friends, or relatives readily lend a hand in times of need, such as in burials, weddings, “panughok” or asking the parents of a lady for her hand in marriage, community projects, and other social or personal undertaking. (EOT/MMP,PIA8-Southern Leyte)
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