Katigbawan Festival is a celebration of human satisfaction from the Visayan word “katagbawan”. Katigbawan is a combination of the visayan words “katigbi”, “tigbaw” and ‘kabawan”. This festival takes place every 3rd week of June of each year in celebration of the foundation day of Catigbian, Bohol every June 17. From the word Katigbi, Tigbaw and Kabawan thus the Katigbawan Festival was coined. Katigbi refers to a grass native to the town where the name Catigbian was derived; Tigbaw in Visayan speaks of caves which the town is replete of; Kabawan in Boholano refers to a place where carabaos are bred and sold. The Katigbawan Festival portrays the deep cultural and traditional heritage of the people of Catigbian; their beliefs and practices. The festival was conceived by the local administration as a tool for the promotion of tourism, ecology and agriculture; a very effective yet less expensive means for promoting the town compared to months and even years of infrastructure development and expansion.
The festival was set up to highlight the Foundation Day of Catigbian which falls on June 17. At the onset, the festival lasted only for 3 days. At present, with more activities construed by the local administration to make the festival livelier and more income generating, the festival is now a week-long affair.
Known in Region VII as having the biggest Livestock Auction Market and for having lots of caves, staging the festival was not that hard. Finding support from the local inhabitants and a favorable response from guests at its inception, the festival proved to be the best way to promote the Livestock Auction Market and Catigbian’s natural assets as well as a means to portray local talents, beliefs and practices.
The Katigbawan Festival at the onset included a street-dancing parade, an agro fair, carabao race, hog-catching, motorcross and the search for Miss Katigbawan which includes a separate date for the talent portion.
Now the festival features a crafts fair where katigbi crafts are displayed; competitions in boxing, basketball
and other traditional games; a carambola derby of the best fighting cocks; street dancing competition, amateur singing contest, the carabao pageant, hog catching, and the mainstay, the search for Miss Katigbawan.
One colorful and highly hilarious affair is the carabao pageant. The carabaos are adorned and dressed up to the nines in costumes with make-up and all! Carabaos coming from the different barangays vie for the crown. They are paraded throughout the town for all to see accompanied by avid supporters.
The talent portion is the clincher. Some carabaos can kneel; there were those who can walk on their knees; some are beautifully decorated and others so sexy with their big buttocks and made-up face; yet others only pee and release their dung which results in an uproar from the audience.
The carabao pageant is the first of its kind in the Philippines. The carabao or water buffalo is a sturdy and hardworking animal largely used by Boholano farmers when tilling their lands and as a means of transportation especially when transporting heavy loads.
It is in fact a national symbol of the Philippines for it portrays the Filipino’s hardworking trait and resiliency. They are extolled throughout the Philippine archipelago, either with a parade, a race, or a procession. But it is only in Bohol that the carabaos are given the limelight and paraded as “beauty queens”!