The months of April and May in the Philippines are filled with festivals to celebrate nature and the bountiful harvest usually associated with summer (although technically we do not have a summer season). Here in Laguna, Nagcarlan has its own Ana Kalang Festival to be proud of. The background of this town’s annual fest is best summarized in a poster they put up on the grounds of its town hall. To quote:
* the figure behind the festival:
Ana Kalang decorated with everlastings
“Noong taong[sic] 2009, sinimulan ang pagbibigay sa bawa’t kalahok na kalang-kalang ng sinaunang pangalang pambabae. Ang hakbang na ito ay may magandang layunin – upang hindi mawala sa isipan ng mga Nagcarlangin ang mga pangalang tinaglay ng kanilang mga ninuno at sa kalasalukuyan ay iniiwasan nang ibinyag ng mga magulang sa kanilang mga anak.
“Mula sa ganitong konsepto ng kalang-kalang, dalawang paligsahan pa ang isinilang na ngayon ay kapwa[sic] mahahalagang bahagi ng Ana Kalang Festival. Ang una ay sinimulan noong taong[sic] 2008, ay ito ay ang tinatawag na Bihis Kalang-Kalang, isang patimpalak para sa mga mag-aaral sa paaralang sekundarya na ang tuon ay sa pagbibihis ng mga manikang may taas na dalawang talampakan gamit din ang mga likas at katutubong sangkap mula sa kapaligiran ng Nagcarlan.
* Nagcarlan’s famous water fountain; behind is the town’s hall or presidencia
“Ang ikalawa naman ay ang Bihis Ana Kalang, na sinimulan noong taong[sic] 2009. Isang paligsahan sa pagdidisenyo at pagyari ng mga kasuotang pambabae gamit ang mga likas at katutubong sangkap, pinalutang nito ang mga Nagcarlanging may angking husay sa pagdidibuho. Ang mga likha nilang kasuotan ay itinatanghal sa isang fashion show kung saan pinipili ang pinakamahuhusay na disenyo.”
More than Life-size Kalang-Kalang
Found installed on different parts of the town hall (or more commonly called presidencia) grounds are these huge images of kalang-kalang tagged with different names and clothed in costumes made of natural materials. It gives a different look at these images derived from local folklore figure especially on the way the details of the designs are made and presented.
* striking a pose!
Also part of the Ana Kalang Festival is the competition on making models of the town presidencia, an imposing structure that traces its origin to the Spanish era. These models are a great attraction to both children and children-at-heart for they provide nice backdrops for photographs and of course, selfies (ano pa nga ba?).
* contestant for the Ginoong Nagcarlan 2015
* busy streets filled with food and stuff for sale
2nd Tatak Nagcarlangin Awards (TANAW)
Besides the staple events such as the yearly pageant, this budding activity for the festival really stood out the night we visited Nagcarlan. Dubbed TANAW (short for Tatak Nagcarlangin Awards), it is a competition but a healthy one among slected student of the town, showcasing their talents, advocacy, among others for the town of Nagcarlan. I may be wrong on this one but I think it was mentioned that awards forms part of the activity for the Gawad Laguna (then Gawad Felicisimo T. San Luis Para sa Namumukod-Tanging Kabataan ng Laguna). Perhaps the representatives are chosen from this? I have to check. What I was certain was that the emcees were part of the Gawad San Luis before.
* the 2nd Tatak Nagcarlangin Awards (TANAW) underway
A day still remains for the festival as I write this and so I invite you dear reader to this Nagcarlan festivity and if it is not possible, then to the other fiestas and festivals that we are yet to witness this year. I believe it does not matter what your religious background is; your participation to such merriment is a statement of pride to our rich culture and tradition.