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Tinagba Draws Provincial Participation

IRIGA CITY - More people are expected to join in this year's Tinagba celebration here.

This is the optimism expressed by Mayor Emmanuel R. Alfelor following the city government's decision to invite participants from the different towns of Camarines Sur.

"There'll be a bigger crowd this year as Bikolanos realize that the Tinagba is not only an Irigueño practice but that it had traditionally been a Bikol thanksgiving ritual," said Alfelor.

The city government itself had prepared a contest exclusively for the best Tinagba performance among the participating municipalities, said Marilyn Okuszko, the City Tourism Officer.

Apart from the traditional bullcart caravan, this year's Tinagba will also feature a month-long trade fair, agricultural shows and contests, and an art exhibit by a local artist organization. The whole activity will be covered by the ETC. program of Boy Abunda and Tintin Verzola of the ABS-CBN.

A crowd-drawer, the pasibog contest features a race of carabaos running or walking backwards; while the pinaka-contest is a search for the biggest and the longest farm produce.

The Sig-angan Art Group, organized in 1995 by the triumverate of sculptor Al Oliva, terracotta artist Rufino Carumba, Jr. and poet-painter-journalist Frank Peñones Jr., will also mount an art exhibit entitled, Ring-gaw Padagos at the Xite Restobar along the Felix 0. Alfelor Sr., St. It will feature new works of the group which also include Andres Macaorog, Andrew Nacario, Homer Dimabayao, Guillermo Besada, Jr., Rene Oliva, Cesar Gumba, Ben San Miguel and Frank Quirante and guest artist, Henry Ofracio of Guinobatan, Albay.

Derived from the word, tagba, meaning the first fruits of a harvest; the tinagba according to the late historian Jose Calleja Reyes, is rooted in the pre-Hispanic world of the ancient Bikol and was primarily a thanksgiving ritual to the supreme god of good called Gugurang.

Revived in 1975 by Reyes, the tinagba has since then been held every February 11 to coincide with the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes to whose honor he built a massive stone grotto at the family owned Hotel Ibalon in the central business district here.