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Bagasumbul Festival

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Bagasumbul Festival

The fiesta in the growing town of Naval is just like how other fiestas in the Philippines are celebrated - the showcasing of street dances, and competitions of festival dances and of course, the "handaan", which always is looked forward by everybody. Also, just like other fiestas, each of them has its own story and history but those are nothing compared to the unique and puzzling tale of Naval's Bagasumbul Festival.

Different historians have been studying the etymology and derivation of the word "Bagasumbul" and many of them have come up with different meanings.

1. "Like feathers (of tangbo). Tangbo is an erect grass that grows abundantly in swamps and muddy streams. In bancas or in sailboats, people murmured "baga sumbul" - like feathers - when they approached the "banderahan" point. (Tantuico 1980, 136).

2. "An obstacle to the enemies." (Chico 1957, 9; his translation of Artigas's cited text.)

3. "The place was named after the founder of the said settlement, who happened to be called Bagasumb(u)l." (Lepasana 1954, as quoted by Chico 1957, 9.)

4. "Sumbol" is a plumage [feathered ornament] that they put in the prow of their sea-craft to know from where the wind comes (Sanchez de la Rosa 1914).

With those evolving definitions, researchers came up with different theories and interpretations too. According to Prof. Borrinaga, the "sumbul" is referred to a feathered ornament that the natives tied near the tip of the prow of their karakuwa - war-boats that were as big as the basnigan (large trawl-fishing boats with outriggers). The sumbul waving in the wind from the prow of their boats is a symbol of their victory or as the greatest sign of conquest. The word therefore always referred to the ethnic, self-made equivalent of the modern victor's trophy. Thus the word Bagasumbol or baga sumbol had always meant "like or similar to (baga, in Waray) a symbol of a great victory or conquest (sombol)."

Another theory arose from Artigas saying that the word bagasumbol meant "an obstacle to enemies." The settlement was named after its founder who happened to be called Bagasumbol. The place (Bagasumbol) may either refer to the founder who earned the name of an obstacle to the enemies for



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