Lang-ay Festival 2023 Schedule/Date: March 27-April 5.
Lang-ay Festival is a cultural festival that showcases the different cultures of Mountain Province. It is celebrated annually in Bontoc, the capital town, and has been one of the biggest come-ons and gatherings in the province.
Different groups/tribes compose the people of Mountain Province. But the Lang-ay Festival serves as a unifying occasion, strengthening peace and harmony among them.
If you are a traveler and tourist looking for an authentic cultural immersion, then Lang-ay Festival is a must-experience. It features street dancing, native chants and songs, traditional culinary specialties, and many more.
All these represent the municipalities of Mountain Province namely: Bontoc, Barlig, Natonin, Paracelis, Sadanga, Besao, Sagada, Bauko, Sabangan, and Tadian.
In this article, we will detail everything you need to know to make the most out of your Lang-ay Festival experience.
What to See During Lang-ay Festival?
As hinted in the previous paragraphs, Lang-ay Festival showcases the rich cultural heritage of the different tribes of Mt. Province. Here are some of the fascinating things you get to see:
Every municipality showcases parade floats made of indigenous materials. Most floats represent replicas of native houses. A distinguishable float comes from Barlig in the form of the Philippine Eagle.
Proceed to the Bontoc Plaza and here, you’ll find booths made of indigenous materials such as cogon grass, bamboo, and wooden poles. Every municipality features a unique design and showcases its primary products or agricultural produce. Among the common products displayed are heirloom rice, soft brooms, traditional textiles, native snacks and delicacies, wines, beads, and many more.
Street Dancing Competition
This is one of the highlights of the Lang-ay Festival, wherein, cultural groups from different municipalities showcase their performances on the street. Each performance usually features a folk story unique to the place.
The different tribes of Mt. Province were able to preserve much of their traditional songs and chants. These are portrayed during competitions as part of the Lang-ay Festival.
Oh yes, the people of Mountain Province are also talented singers. Hear them during the choral competition while in full indigenous attire.
Native Culinary Displays
Experience indigenous snacks such as Patopat, Linapet, Tinudok, and many more. Don’t forget to complement these with traditional wines made of locally-available ingredients such as bugnay.
The people of Mt. Province are skilled artisans and craftsmen.
Traditional Attires and Ornaments
Many stalls and stores display beautifully woven Igorot textiles/garments. The design varies per province and municipality. Each design has a story to tell and you can ask an attendant to share a bit of them.
What to Do During Lang-ay Festival?
If there’s a lot to see, then there’s more you can do and experience during the Lang-ay Festival. In the following listicle, I included things you can do on the side so that you can make the most out of your Bontoc experience.
Don’t worry, you can do all these even with limited time and budget. I tell you, the fun, experience, and lessons you gain are priceless and worth reminiscing about for a lifetime.
Visit the Bontoc Museum
One of the locally-known tourist spots in Bontoc. Here, you’ll find different artifacts, pictures, memorabilia, sculptures, replicas of native houses, old photographs, and many more. The entrance fee is 65 pesos.
Watch Cultural Presentations
Sidetrip to other Bontoc attractions
If you’re done watching the main events of the Lang-ay Festival, you can do a quick tour of some of the famous tourist spots in Bontoc. Maligcong rice terraces, Mainit hot Springs, Alab Petroglyphs, and Humuyyo falls are just some of these.
Dance and sing with the Locals
The locals of Bontoc are mostly warm and friendly. Don’t be shy to interact and get to know them. For sure, you’ll learn a lot from their stories.
Visit the Bontoc Pasalubong Center
Just along the GL Trans Station. It is a good stop if you are looking for authentic souvenirs. Traditional wines, snacks, weavings, sculptures, and beads are sold here.
What and Where to Eat?
Because it is a provincial event, expect food stalls to mushroom at every corner.
Many of these serve exotic dishes and drinks. But if you want to experience cultural offerings and what it feels like to be like an I-Montanyosa, then better try indigenous meals and eateries.
For sure, you will find them everywhere. Check the following:
Tapuey (Rice Wine)
Tapuey is both a delicacy and a beverage in Mt. Province. It is made from different varieties of heirloom rice. It is usually served during special occasions such as wakes, festivals, and weddings.
Etag (Smoked Meat)
Etag is a type of meat, cured by smoking it for days or weeks. Smoking has been used especially by the locals of Sagada to preserve their meat. Etag yields a distinct but very flavorful taste. Plus, the aroma is irresistible. You can buy this at the Bontoc Public Market.
It is made up of glutinous rice, wrapped in banana leaves. It is best served with brewed coffee.
It is similar to Patopat but contains fillings, usually grounded peanuts. It is a famous delicacy in Besao, Mt Province.
Where to Stay during Lang-ay Festival?
During the Lang-ay Festival, all common lodging amenities are filled. That is why it matters to set a reservation days before your arrival. Take note, however, that some only accept personal bookings. Here are some of the lodging where you can stay with their corresponding contact number.
1. Mountain Hotel and Restaurant
2. Walter Clapp Hotel and Restaurant
3. Archog Hotel and Restaurant
4. Ridgebrooke Hotel and Restaurant
Some Helpful Utterances
Some locals are often shy when talking with people of different languages. Others would even avoid such conversation. That is why, if you want to connect with them, it helps to speak the local language.
You don’t have to be well-versed. Trying out some common utterances and expressions can be a great way of building rapport with people.
Most of the people belong to the Bontoc tribe (also called Ifontok) and they speak Finontok. Other tribes can also partially understand this language. So, do try learning and speaking the following:
|Finontok Common Utterances||English Translation|
|Khawis ay wiit||Good morning|
|Khawis ay||Good afternoon|
|Khawis ay maschem||Good evening/night|
|Kaat na||How much is this|
|Khawis nan ili yu||You have a beautiful place|
|Sumaa kamit||We are going home|
|Khawis ta inmali kami||It’s good to be here|
|Khawis nan “culture” yu||You have a beautiful culture here|
|Lumaus kami||We are passing through|
If you run out of local terms, don’t worry. Most of the locals can also speak English and Filipino. Almost all can also speak and understand Ilocano. It was the Americans who first introduced formal education among the natives, so
How to Get to Bontoc, Mt. Province?
Bontoc, the capital town of Mountain Province, is the venue for the yearly Lang-ay Festival.
Manila to Bontoc. Take Coda Lines bus from H.M. Bus Station, Cubao, Manila. Travel time takes 10-12 hours.
Baguio to Bontoc. Take a Rising Sun Bus from Slaughterhouse Compound in Magsaysay, Baguio. Travel time takes 5-6 hours.
Tips and Reminders
1. Respect the local culture. Avoid practices that may offend the community. Among these are wearing mini-shorts in public; public displays of affection; smoking; and taking pictures of sacred rituals.
Take note. Lang-ay Festival is an indigenous occasion.
2. Always seek permission and guidance from the Municipal Tourism Office or the local officials when planning to visit nearby tourist spots in Bontoc.
3. Socialize with the locals so you can learn more about the local culture and history. Do so with cultural sensitivity and respect.
4. Don’t ever litter, please. Let us help in keeping Bontoc clean and green.
5. Refrain from offensive terms and expressions.
6. Some cultural materials are for your eyes only. Don’t take pictures if it is prohibited.
Photos Courtesy: Cel F. Marafo and Neo Jay Garcia.
Ironically though, I have never witnessed Lang-ay live. It is quite embarrassing but it is true. But it has always been my one true dream to watch it live in its entirety. (I did have a glimpse though when Marky Cielo graced the festival circa 2006 or 2006; my memory is betraying me. Haha)
haha sayang…nu nagbuybuya ka idi ket baka nakitam siyak nga makisalsala ijay street dancing haha