Ibalong festival set Aug. 11-16 in Legazpi By Celso Amo (The Philippine Star)

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines – The city government of Legazpi will celebrate the Ibalong Festival this year from Aug. 11 to 26 with new and colorful attractions to entertain local and foreign tourists.

“We have added more glamor and world-class competition such as the Mt. Mayon Triathlon 4th Edition on Aug. 13,” said Mayor Noel Rosal during a press conference on Tuesday at the Legazpi City Hall.

Rosal said for the first time, elite professional triathletes and their respective teams from ten countries will be coming to Legazpi City a week after the Iron Man competition in Cebu.

He also said foreign media will cover the triathlon event. 

Aside from the triathlon, new attractions include the Foot and Float Parade, Dance of Heroes Rave Party, Mixed Martial Arts, Beach Volleyball Republic, the Legazpi City First United Skate and BMX Battle.

Other attractions are the Dance of Heroes at the Legazpi City boulevard on Aug. 11 at 6 p.m. featuring live bands like Slapshot and DJs like Dave Harman and Alan Cecilio. 

Rosal said the Mutya ng Ibalong 2017 coronation night will feature for the first time two emerald crowns, while the street presentation competition on Aug. 26 is open for seven groups which were winners in local and international competitions such as Baao National High School, a third place winner in a recent international competition in Europe.

The Ibalong Festival comes from the Ibalong epic, a tale of three heroes who fought to keep the peace for the town of Ibalong: Baltog, Handyong and Bantong. They fought mythical creatures such as the tandayag (giant boar), dambuhala (one-eyed monster), oryol (half-woman, half-serpent) and a giant called Rabot.

Like many festivals in the country, the main event is the choreographed street dancing. Such performances depict the numerous myths and legends contained in the Ibalong epic.

The street dances are usually performed by students from high schools throughout Albay and even from schools outside the province who are invited to participate.

The Ibalong Festival also features other merry-making activities like street parties, band concerts, flea markets in the streets of the city, drag races and fireworks display. With the uniqueness of Bicolano cuisine, food fests and cooking demos are also among the main features of the festival.