Halad kay Kang-Laon
It is interesting that the Protected Area Management Board and the Office of the Protected Are Superintendent of the Mount Kanla-on Natural Park in Negros Island have conceptualized a festival that will commemorate the declaration of the site as a protected area, by virtue of Republic Act 9154.
While the proclamation has been controversial, with the slicing of 169 hectares from the original boundary of the park to accommodate a geothermal energy project, it is a fact that MKNP was one of the earlier Congress-declared protected areas in the Philippines.
Since the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act, or RA 7586, was enacted in 1992, the Congress has only designated 13 protected areas, so far, out of the more than 200 candidate-sites all throughout the country.
Dubbed as “Halad kay Kang-Laon”, the inaugural feast of the MKNP shall be held at its Guintubdan Entrance Station in Brgy. Araal, La Carlota City on August 11, in time for the 16 th year since RA 9154, or the Mt. Kanla-on Natural Park Act, was enacted.
RA 9154 lapsed into law on August 11, 2001 without the signature of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. That was the time when various groups were opposing the proposal of the then Philippine National Oil Corporation–Energy Development Corporation to enter the park, but to no avail, as the Congress finally decided to make the 169 hectares as buffer zone, solely for geothermal energy development.
The festival's title is inspired from the legend of the Mt. Kanla-on. The fable tells there was once a handsome prince named Kang, who was in love with a beautiful princess known as La-on. The love story of Kang and La-on did not end happily ever after, as they were condemned to death by the princess' father. The mound where the sweethearts were buried grew tall and majestically rose from the ground to become what is now known as the Mt. Kanla-on, the 16 th highest peak in the Philippines.
The PAMB Ecotourism Committee, headed by Edgardo Canlas, representative of the La Carlota City to the management board, leads the first festival of the MKNP that will start with a thanksgiving mass at 8 a.m., followed by the opening program at 9 a.m.
Dancers from the different festivals of local governments covering the MKNP shall alternately perform tribal dances the whole day, in accordance with the title and theme of the celebration “Pag-amlig sa Dunang Manggad para sa Kaayuhan sang Katawhan”. These are the Pasalamat Festival of La Carlota City, Babaylan Festival of Bago City, Tinabu-ay Festival of Murcia, Pinta Flores Festival of San Carlos City, Pasayaw Festival - Canlaon City, and Bailes de Luces Festival of La Castellana. Representatives from the Department of Education are expected to perform an interpretative number on the MKNP's legend.
During the celebration, the winner of the jingle-making contest of the MKNP shall be announced, while cook-off challenge, and canvas and body paintings are also lined up. La Carlota Mayor Luis Jalandoni III, MKNP Protected Area superintendent Cocordio Remoroza, and DENR Negros Island regional director Livino Duran will deliver messages during the festival. A number of bands shall also perform to culminate the Halad kay Kangla-on Festival.*
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