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News Feature: Karomata Fest, Trinidad's bold moves to street dancing
By Rey Anthony H. Chiu
posted 5-Sep-2012  ·  
Amid the rising trend of “street-dancing festivals” , Trinidad comes out with the bold move for its "Karomata festival".

Trinidad town under Mayor Roberto Cajes adopted the festival conceptualized in 2007 under then chief executive Judith Cajes.

Festival coordinator Aniceto Petarco said the Karomata Festival was a highlight of the town’s 65th Foundation Days Anniversary celebrated every August 30-September 1. Street-dancers from five high school contingents in the town depicted more of the mimes in a barter trade that led to the conceptualization of the festival.

Contingents in the street-dancing competition included Kinaoan High School (Tribu Sinangay); Tagum Sur National High School (Tribu Alili); Hinlayagan National High School (Tribu Tugbang); Kauswagan National high School (Tribu Tikang) and Saint Isidore Academy (Tribu Hangyo).

Petarco said that in his research Trinidad town used to be an informal settlement of migrants located along the river. These migrants, he said were trading buri fabrics and raw material for mosquito nets which abound in the area.

The buri fabric was known as Cabizon, thus the name was also used to refer to the place, an article at the town website showed.

When the Spanish friars arrived and established themselves in the area, Cabizon was renamed Ipil, in reference to the giant Ipil trees abundant along the riverbanks, the article reads.

With Ubay and interior parts of Talibon into cattle ranching, Ipil became a convenient stop-over and trading center engaged mostly in barter.

People from the islands bartered with produce from the highlands and traders from as far as Jagna and Guindulman got to Ipil on carabao drawn carts (karomata), carrying their produce.

The long journey force the traders to equip their 'karomatas' with roofs and provisions for sleeping and cooking while they hit the trails, Petarco said.

These two: barter movements and the karomata provide the spine of the festival from which most choreographs were inspired, also said Jojeline Buendia, festival committee vice chair and town information officer.

Known Boholano festival director and festival dance critic, Lutgardo Abad earlier uttered a mouthful over the propensity to copy the Sinulog steps in the newly emerging festivals.

In Trinidad however, Petarco assured that with their festival in for a formal registration and recognition from proper authorities, they have prepared for the eventual coming up of the issue.

On the other hand, Trinidad town administrator Judith Cajes hopes that the festival becomes a new source of pride among the young in the town. (mbcn/rahc/PIA-Bohol)
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