[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he young province of Sarangani turns 24 this month and the proud and mighty Sarangans are commemorating it via the 14th MunaTo Festival, a Celebration of People, Culture and Treasures.


In May 19, 1992, through the magnanimous efforts of Congressman James L. Chiongbian, Republic Act 7228 was passed, naming Sarangani a separate province, whose municipalities were part of the 3rd District of South Cotabato.


Fourteen years ago, in 2002, Sarangani started celebrating its Foundation Day through their own festival, and called it MunaTo.  The idea was to create a cultural festival that would celebrate the vibrant diversity of Sarangani Province. It has been celebrated yearly since then, bringing the 7 municipalities of Sarangani together and featuring the best in each town.

MunaTo” comes from two Blaan words that mean “First People”. The anthropomorphic jars found in the caves of the municipality of Maitum (Ayub, Pinol, and Sagel), give clues to Mindanao’s early history and of the Philippines as a whole. The carbon dated anthropomorphic jars depicts that Maitum was the home of early civilization dating back to the Metal age. The original jars are currently in the National Museum for safekeeping and exhibition. Based on the historical time line of the early history of the Philippines, after the Tabon Cave in Palawan, the next earliest pottery is found in Pinol Cave in Maitum. Thus the claim that in Mindanao, the First People or “Munah To”, possibly are from Maitum, Sarangani Province.

These are just some of the clear indications that Sarangani although a young province has a very long and rich history.

MunaTo Festival 2016

This year, MunaTo Festival which runs from Novermber 24-26, 2016, merges the MunaTo Yesterland and MunaTo International Music and Arts Festival. In 2015 Malaysian Sape Player, Mathew Ngau Jau from Sarawak performed live in Sarangani. This year, the Indonesian Consulate of Davao will be taking part by giving us cultural exchange by bringing in their instruments and engaging the Sarangans their own musical performances.

munato 2016

A major addition is the MunaTo Cultural Village where visitors will be regaled with Sarangani’s cultural diversity and multi-hued story, in a show called “Thread of Life”. This is a one-hour tapestry depicts different cultural themes celebrated in Sarangani from death to life, from farming and harvest, marriage and family life and celebration of peace practices. The spectacle will then end with a showcase of the authentic food served by the community kitchens of Sarangani.

The MunaTo Festival 2016 will also conduct the second run of the PLATFORM IN SARANGANI. This time, various speakers headed by Secretary Gina Lopez, former Secretary Raffy Alunan and General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa will be lending their presence.

On Opening NIght, November 24, a new Pearl of Sarangani will be crowned. Vying for this title are the 7 beautiful lasses representing the municipalities of Glan..

Expected to be another jampacked event is the Sarangani Youth Day with over 800+ Youth leaders of the province gathering to share their advocacies and make a stand on how they want to shape the future of Sarangani. Their special guest and Keynote Speaker, Commissioner Aiza Seguerra will be joining them all throughout the day.

This will allow the students, cultural enthusiasts, and the general public, learn and appreciate History, Social Science, Science, and Culture and Arts in an “experiential” kind of education.

munato 2016 schedule

Munato Yesterland Themepark showcases 10 Attractions.

1. MunaTo Cultural Village and Show – An interactive showcase of the Tboli, Blaan, and Tagakaolo and Moro tribes called The Thread of Life. Shows every 9 AM, 11 AM, 2PM and 4PM.

2. Sarangani Wildlife Museum – This is found at the ECPC, where one can see the different animals that are preserved for study. This museum shows the varied species found in Sarangani. Also at the 2nd floor auditorium will play Sarangani- made films from last year’s Salamindanaw’s entry.

3. Looms & Beads – Located at the Kasfala Hall, the Looms and Beads is an extensive, elaborate, and detailed exhibit featuring traditional arts and crafts in Mabal Tabih, Saul (bead works), and other artifacts. This is an exhibit of Heirloom designs and fabrics from our Indigenous Tribes in Sarangani.

4. MunaTo Fotoloco – This is the sculpture of Kublai found at the Sarangani Capitol depicting the first people. Here people can take their wacky and fun photos. A photobooth will be available to take photos for a fee!

5. Sarangani Street Arts – On the back street of the Capitol, several Sarangani artists will create a 3D street art of the different Sarangani tourist destination for those with tickets to take their chance for photo ops.

6. Fabli Guni – Sarangani’s food & handicrafts display and sale.

7. Sarangani Historical Lane – Sarangani gives tribute to all the leaders that have served Sarangani Province since its creation since 1992.

8. Fabli Guni & Farmers Market – This will be the biggest gathering of Sarangani Produce and Products. Included here will be Organic Vegetables, Fruits, Sarangani Upland Rice varieties including ornamental plants, and potteries. Also for sale, will be Sarangani’s processed foods, Aquaculture harvests, handicraft and furniture, fashion, and even Halal foods. This is one full market where you can buy and even deal with suppliers!

9. MunaTo Arcade – This is the section for food and novelty items. Here we will have traders selling snacks, meals, drinks, and other goods.

10. MunaTo Center Stage – Found at the center grounds of Sarangani Capitol. Here free shows and activities that can be viewed by all Themepark goers. This includes the daily parade and mascot appearances, the tribal sports and boxing competitions, magic shows, concerts and Pearl of Sarangani.

MunaTo Themepark Rules and Rates:

Everyone coming to the MunaTo Yesterland Themepark can enter for free.

However, MunaTo Cultural Village and its shows will require a ticket to enter for the rate of P100 and this includes the authentic food experience.

For additional information, please contact the Sarangani Tourism Office at  Telephone # (083) 508-0175.  Check out and like the MunaTo Official Facebook Page at http://fb.com/MunatoFestival.