Lumad Basakanon: Cebu City’s Pride

Posted by on July 3, 2008

For many years now, they have known for their tattoo-printed tights and intricately made costume and headdress. Their signature routines still keep the people amazed and awed every time they perform.

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Lumad Basakanon is a community-based dance troupe from Barangay Basak San Nicolas in Cebu City, hence the name Basakanon.

Their performances are always widely anticipated. Where ever they go, roaring applause can always be heard. And which ever festival they head to compete they are always on the top three.

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The Lumad Basakanon group has been the 2007 and 2008 Cebu Sinulog Free Interpretation Category Champion. And being the festival champion they are automatically sent to the annual Aliwan Fiesta in Manila Philippines.

This Cebu-based festival dancers have won the Grand Prize of Aliwan Festival for three straight years in 2006 2007 and 2008. Pocketing 1Million Pesos for every year.

Pintados Kasadyaan Sangyaw Festival 008

Last month they won in the annual Hudyaka Zanorte Festival but they represented the town of Siocon Zamboanga del Norte.

And just recently, Cebu’s Lumad Basakanon travelled to Tacloban City to compete in the newly-revived Sangyaw Festival.

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Despite the fact that I have seen them perform for so many times already, I am still thrilled seeing them in Leyte. The people in Tacloban is witness to how good their performance last Sunday in the festival. I myself is expecting that they will win this contest easily. There was no strong competitor for Lumad Basakanon. Bacolod City’s Masskara Festival was in Tacloban not as a competitor but as a guest to promote the upcoming Bacolod Masskara Festival 2008.

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It could have been an easy win. Another title under Cebu’s belt. But I was wrong. And the crowd’s wrong too. Who would have expected that the city’s contingent won the contest and bagging the 500 grand purse money. Who would have expected that. When their choreography is a copycat of Lumad Basakanon. Their costume has some similarities to Lumad Basakanon.

But as the dancers of Lumad Basakanon say, grabbing the title is not part of the business. What is important is for them to dance and offer their prayer ritual to Santo Niño.

Win or lose, I still love Lumad Basakanon. And I may not be a Cebuano, but I know how to appreciate great performance

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Comments (11)


  1. Gloria Karlos says:

    ur right! i was even shocked with the result. though i’m from tacloban, i could not accept the fact that our own contingent bagged the 500K prize and the title “champion”. judges might had been blind! the reactions of the crowd was a great manifestation of to whom they favor. lumad basakanon for me was still the best performer in the recently held sangyaw festival.

  2. jenli says:

    hmm…the judges are right… your all wrong. tribu kabatok deserves the title.. i’ve seen many kind of dances -, ethnical, tribal , ballet , jazz and even those dances in festival competition.. im one of the dancers of Mr. Douglas Nieras and i was there with him he was one of the judge in aliwan and the sangyaw…ive seen lumad basakanon in sinulog , aliwan etc… the lumads keep on repiting thier steps and routine. and the choreography is still the same no changes .. for me its just right for lumads to land in the second place because they dont have the effort to change thier steps . they dont have the speed and the spiret to win… my pa hulog hulog effect pa sila at tatayo para sabihing profesional sila ginawa rin nila yun sa aliwan pahulog hulog effect.. and repeating steps again and again makes a dance very lousy change your steps na lumad wala na ba kayong maisip na other steps…

  3. jenli says:

    But as the dancers of Lumad Basakanon say, grabbing the title is not part of the business. What is important is for them to dance and offer their prayer ritual to Santo Niño…….. they just say this coz natalo na sila…. dont make excuses…. just accept na talunan kayo…

  4. arianne says:

    well thats ok. In every contest or festival, there is always a HOMECOURT advantage. We are just happy that through LUMAD BASAKANON we have strengthen the brotherhood of both cities, after all Leyte’s festival is more on tie-ups on their sister cities. Winning isnt an issue in that festival i think

  5. donG hO says:

    im also amazed with lumad. i’ve missed sinulog for the past five years so i only had the chance to see them at the aliwan.

    this year i had the chance to talk to them and even got a picture with the little girl.

    this group is almost unbeatable and i think they need to give chance to other contingents in the future.

  6. simbad says:

    akala kasi ng lumad madadaya pa nila ang sangyaw festival,naging greedy na sila..they just using sto.nino as the essence “daw” why they joined but in reality they are after sa prizes,3 million in aliwan is too much,sana nagamit nila ng maayos,kawawa ang mga bata,sumasayaw sa wala.

  7. jack ass says:

    well, in my opinion… lumad basakanon plays farely. it was the judges discretion maybe because they are tired of repeated routines over and over. And in fact, they garnered all the major awards and got a big amount naman. in short, panalo parin sila in terms of money.

    I was there when they prayed before the start of the parade and I was touched cuz they really offered it in honor of sr. sto. nino…

    Tapos ang kaso! ok?

  8. mendez says:

    kung ordinary na taga tacloban ang sinasabi,panalo ang luamd pero hindi sa nkakita ng lumad trademark,nandoon ako sa aliwan at sa sangyaw i agree with douglas nieras,lumad should have the effort to change the their usual dance.

  9. dado says:

    hindi na kailangan ng new step, next sinulog na yong bago… hindi mag babago yong steps nitong taon.. kung ano yong nasa sinulog 2008 ganun parin yong nakikita sa aliwan at ano mang festival na sinalihan sa taong ito… dahil lang ba na si douglas siya yong judge nong aliwan ay kailangan na mag bago ng steps yong lumad? what if iba yong judge so may chance na mananalo yong lumad?

  10. redribbonarmy says:

    tama lumads basakanon’s trade mark ay mananatili parin… pero ngaung 2009 new routines, props, costumes nanaman… at ina abangan yan ng mga copy cats wahahaha….

  11. basakanon says:

    Basakanon contingent lacked fresh dance routines, props

    January 18, 2011 07:14:00
    Fatrick Tabada
    Cebu Daily News

    LACK of spontaneity and new dance routines quashed chances of the Lumad Basakanon troupe of barangay Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City, of landing among the winners of last Sunday’s Sinulog Grand Parade.

    A crowd favorite and consistent placer of the annual event, the troupe failed to impress judges and organizers.

    The group didn’t land in the top five spots for the free interpretation category.

    “They need to reinvent themselves. Pick and find new styles,” said Josefina Guillen, who chaired the free interpretation panel of judges.

    The people have seen the same style in the past five years, said Nestor Jardin, one of the judges and Ricky Ballesteros, executive director of Sinulog Foundation Inc(SFI).

    Dressed as farmers and loggers with baskets on their back, Lumad Basaknon dancers, who developed the theme of harvest and thanksgiving, were a familiar sight.

    Steffi Rose Pearson Aberasturi, the newly crowned 2011 Festival Queen, joined them in their dance.

    Last year, the Lumad Basakanon placed second in the free interpretation category.

    This year they didn’t crack the top 10.

    “I am saddened by their performance,” Ballesteros said.

    Although the dancers were skilled, Jardin said the production elements of their performance failed to impress the judges.

    He said their performance was “inconsistent” from the start and lacked variety.

    Jardin said the contingent tried to mix in some moves during their performance to no avail. “Give them time and they will come back,” he said.

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