Sanduguan Festival – Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro

Calapan City in Oriental Mindoro celebrates one of the country’s most colorful festivals – the Sanduguan Festival.

The city’s main thoroughfares are closed to vehicles to give way to the dancing parade. Various groups of students from different levels re-enact the first barter trade between the Mangyans, one of the country’s oldest tribes, and the Chinese, through dance interpretations. The participants are garbed in eye-catching costumes made from materials found in their hometown like calamansi and bananas.


Florante Villarica, a local historian, started this festival aimed at reviving an age-old forgotten Mangyan tradition. He discovered that the first barter trade relations between the Mangyans, Mindoro┬╣s first dwellers, and the Chinese began in 900 AD. It was the earliest record of trade in the history of China.

Besides trading clothing, food and other goods, the tribes folk and the Chinese gathered at the beach for cultural exchanges.

The Mangyans taught the Chinese native games, while the foreigners performed the lion dances and plays. The word sandugo, the root word of Sanduguan, means brotherhood or friend in the Mangyan dialect.


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