Meguyaya: A Festival of Thanksgiving
Tulos, the Great Spirit who created all things, has indeed abundantly blessed this land with verdant mountains, fertile soil and cooler climate. The Municipality of Upi produces acres and acres of corn spreading as far your eyes can see, from the hills to the plains and down to the mountainsides. The picturesque landscape can vary in color from yellow green to dark green, yellowish and to light brown, depending on what time of the year when it’s planting or harvest time. Dubbed as the Summer Capital of Maguindanao, the welcoming and peace-loving Teduray people complemented the title with their warm taos go (welcome).
From being a sleepy town to being the only first class municipality in Maguindanao, currently active in the promotion and the preservation of the Teduray culture and the arts, Upi has conceptualized the Meguyaya Festival in the year 2000. Meguyaya is a week-long celebration that happens every second week of December when the cold breeze of easterly winds blow. The vibrant political leadership created the festival as a haven of the tri-people, creating harmony and empowerment among Christians, Muslims and the Teduray people, a concept worthy of emulation in the Bangsamoro Land.
Meguyaya is a term for thanksgiving by the Teduray people, one of the major non-Islamic ethnicgroups of Mindanao. Clad in different colorful Teduray and (others in) Muslim costumes, contingents from different schools in Barangay Poblacion Nuro, nearby municipalities and even from Cotabato City swarm the streets with their drums, gongs and ethnic choreography, in sync mostly with the Teduray dance. The street dancing competition circumnavigates the major streets of the town and culminates at the Nuro Central Elementary School grounds for the final presentation and judging.
The festivities also incorporate other activities like the Cultural Nights, Local Government Unit Night, Ginoong Meguyaya male pageant, trade fair and Maisan Na. The Local Government ofUpi allots an acre of glutinous corn for Maisan Na. This is an activity in which a long stretch of grillers are placed by the roadside where the young and old enjoy roasting corns, a symbol of togetherness and feasting.
Truly, the Upians and the Teduray people have their unique way of celebrating life amidst diversity.