The town of Maitum in Sarangani Province hosts the one-of-its-kind Bangsi Festival every end of January or first week of February each year. What makes it unique is that it gives honor to its One Town, One Product (OTOP), the Bangsi, and its people renew its commitment to protect and conserve its seas.
Maitumians do not just watch and listen. They participate through the different events.
The town’s fishermen show their strength and compete in the Bangsirit (Outrigger race) and Lalumsay (Langoy Lumba/Bugsay) or Swim and Paddle Race. Cheers and yells from fellow fishermen pervade the air as each team vie for the championship and get to bring home a new motor for their boats.
Others show their craftsmanship through Nipa (Nipa Palm) shingles weaving. The one who makes the most number of shingles wins. Of course, quality matters too.
Children tell stories through dance about life at sea through the Bangsiyawan or Mass Demonstration and schools troop to the streets for the Bangsi Streetdancing.
The highlight of the fiesta is the Sugba-sugba sa Bangsi sa Kadalanan or the grilling of a ton of Bangsi in front of the Municipal Hall. Barangays all have their sugbahan (grillers) and everyone who asks for the grilled fish can have their share. Lunchtime is one big party for Maitumians and visitors enjoying their taste of Bangsi.