Buglasan Festival and How Negrenses Celebrate

by PrimaryHomes

May 05, 2021

Majestic scenery, wilderness, and wildlife makes up the most beautiful place I have ever seen. Most people travel to visit this minute province every year, but for me, it was more than just a province. It was the most beautiful place I have ever had the pleasure of seeing, and that is, Negros Oriental. Drenched in history, Negros Oriental is the second largest in the Visayas, after Panay. Negritos, Malays and Chinese long inhabited the island called Buglas before the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi. This Province was one of the first territories preserved for its scenic beauty, public use, and continued enjoyment.

Negros Oriental is subdivided in 6 cities and 19 municipalities and tell you, these places has a lot to offer talking about the beauty of nature and its humble ways of living. One of the cities in Negros whom I could say that has pretty historic background is called Bais City. This place is endowed with cultural, natural and religious tourist attractions. Visiting Bais City is like being trapped in a different time zone where everything is lush and pristine. Beautiful faces witness to a heredity of mixed Spanish, Malay, Chinese and Filipino lineage. The city’s people are indeed one of its assets. They also have this scenery where you can have a view of playful dolphins and graceful whale species such as the dwarf sperm whales, pilot whales, melon-headed whales and whale sharks, to name a few. You can also witness the breathtaking Bais sunrise by traveling to their Sand Bar via boat. The Sand Bar is a perfect site for sunbathing, frolicking, and diving.

Another City in the Province to definitely pay a visit to is called Guihulngan City. Mountains, waterfalls, lakes, caves, you name it and the City of Guihulngan has it. There are various tourists destinations that we should all witness in this place but Hinakpan hills are certainly one for the books to go to. The coolness and freshness of the air will surprise you entirely. Their people are very friendly and smiling as well.

I can acquaint you with all the cities left and their distinct beauty but it would take us forever to finish for I might not stop in divulging its exquisiteness. However, expressing how wonderful Negros is would be fragmentary if I could not put into words the very much awe-inspiring historic and renowned capital of the Province, Dumaguete City.

The City of Dumaguete is the hub of culture for the island of Negros. As the capital of Negros Oriental it’s the central meeting place for all of the province’s people who shares the beauty of the culture itself. Culture of a place is a reflection of its society. The culture of Dumaguete is fascinating and captivating. It tells us about the people of the place, their lifestyle and their beliefs. Observing the culture of Dumaguete gives you a fair idea about the traditions and practices that are still followed by the locals. The festivals, the events, the attractions, all reflect the culture of Dumaguete in one way or the other. And talking about festivals, one festival to keep on top of your mind while travelling and visiting Dumaguete is the Buglasan Festival.

The historical meaning of Buglasan is seen in the origin of the name which is coined from buglas – a word for cogon – like grass or reed that was abundant in the past. The Province was called by this name by the earliest people on this island called Ati or Ata whom the Spaniards called Negritos, which means small dark-skinned people. Subsequently, the Province was officially called Negros, after the Negritos or small Negroes. Thus, the celebration of the Buglasan Festival may be considered a way of remembering the first name of Negros Island.

“Buglasan Festival is a convergence of the province best achievements in culture and the arts, and its finest tourism goods and services brought together in one central venue to be conveniently experienced by visitors and Negrense alike. The festival serves to project and promote a unified Negros Oriental character.” I heard these lines from one of the co-directors of Buglasan over the past years and I know within me that this explains how the festival became one of the most distinctive festivals in the country to witness, feel and learn.

This event is the first in the country celebrating the festival of all festivals in a province. There are 19 municipalities and 6 cities in Negros Oriental and all of these are open to showcasing what their town can offer to the public or tourists on the event. These towns are fitting out their arts, history, culture, tourist spots, and many others which are held annually in Dumaguete City every mid of October. Now, you might ask, what is really significant about October for it to be chosen as the Buglasan month? It was found out to be so inconvenient or burdensome due to the preparation for Christmas and New Year activities of local government units. It might be less participated; that is why it was moved back to October. But nevertheless, the month, all activities still sound very exhilarating.


There are different competitions that the provincial tourism unit sets up for a whole week celebration. One of the highlights is the town’s booth situated in Freedom Park where each participating town creatively displays the best spot of their place either a waterfall, their delicacies, a mountain formation design booth, sharing their local music, craftsmanship, underwater creatures, or whatever each could think of.  Also, each town and city in the Province are asked to develop a presentation based on a local legend, myth or folk dance. This collection would be called the Buglasan Festival of Festivals.

The lively drumbeat sets the mood for the festival. Tourists and visitors from nearby provinces actually danced in the streets with the festival participants. We oohed and aahed as we watched each colorful contingent dance by. I have to say, many of us felt like children as we gleefully clapped our hands in excitement because we were really surprised by the creativity of the participants. As we listened to the tourists and visitors admiring and applauding the street dancing, we couldn’t help but be so proud of ourselves as well. And I’m sure everybody remembers the agro-trade fair at the Capitol grounds in 2002 where as each booth was elaborately set up, depicting something unique to that particular town or city which is still practiced up until now. Their displays of products and tourist’s attractions were just as impressive, too.

Another thing is, in celebration of the Buglasan Festival 2019, the search for the annual Miss Negros Oriental 2019 plays an important role in the whole celebration. For this year’s pageant, thirteen representatives of the different cities and municipality of Negros Oriental joined. The thirteen candidates who joined the pageants came from the different respective municipalities and cities of Manjuyod, Canlaon City, Tanjay City, Zamboaguita, Dauin, Dumaguete City, Sibulan, Pamplona, Bacong, Guihulngan City, Siaton, Bais City & San Jose. A lot of people would say that beauty pageants are common and popular these days, and that they have become ideal grounds for showcasing only beauty and talent, well, not in Dumaguete. By definition, the beauty pageant is a competition in which young women are judged by physical appearance alone. But here, Miss Negros Oriental encourages growth in confidence, outgoing personality, and a positive self-image. It represents goodwill and kindness. We turn over in one’s mind that true beauty lies within themselves and not on what others observe in them, that if they feel beautiful, their own self-belief and confidence brings out a glow of beauty that no outer beauty can compete with, for as the old saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” All the candidates are given a chance to represent their City or Municipality, showcase their astounding talents and convey their knowledge about certain issues, however, we all be in no doubt make it to a point that all of them put into one’s heart that they can only achieve and attain the crown and tranquility of the audience’s heart by their good deeds and beautiful character. This is why Dumaguete City is dubbed as “The City of Gentle People” with its laidback atmosphere, walkable land area, beautiful oceanfront and of course wonderful people. Also, a bonus point to that is, without traffic and a low crime rate, the city is really the place to feel truly relaxed whether or not you are a local, expat, or retiree.

Just like PrimaryHomes Inc., Dumaguete, they cater and seek to change all the unrelieved lifestyles we all have experienced in Bigger Cities. Their vision and mission focus on providing you a well-furnished home where your families can live and grow more in peace and harmony as well as letting you explore the calmness and contentment of the environment here in our Province. For as if you don’t know, Primary Homes will soon be our reliable partner here in Negros Oriental.


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