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LUNA, Apayao, Feb. 10 (PIA) -- The province of Apayao   celebrates the Say-am Festival with the theme, “Apayao @ 22: Unity Amidst Cultural Diversity.”

Hosted by the municipality of Kabugao, the festival kicked off on February 1 and   with the highlights this weekend until February 13.

This year is the celebration of the 22nd year anniversary of the separation of the province of Apayao from the province of Kalinga thru Republic Act No.7878 of 1995 by the late Congressman Elias Bulut Sr.

On February 12 is a provincial motorcade from the Provincial Capitol Grounds in Luna to Kabugao where the old Provincial Capitol is located passing through the newly opened Luna-Kabugao Road.  This road inter connects the municipalities of Apayao without passing thru Region 1 or Region 2 and connects the province to the rest of the Cordillera provinces.

The motorcade will be highlighted by the declaration ceremony of the creation of the Elias K. Bulut Sr. Barangay in Buyucan, Kabugao. There will also be a ground breaking of the Elias K. Bulut Sr. Tourism Park at the barangay center.

Gov. Elias Bulut Jr., and Congresswoman Eleanor Begtang will lead these events.

 In the evening will be a fluvial reception, band show and singing competitions at the Marquez Rivebank in Kabugao.

On February 13 will be the grand celebration day. Activities will kick off with the Grand Civic and Float Parade from the Balinawang to the Mayor Dionisio Agudelo Memorial Gymnasium in Poblacion, Kabugao where the field demo and program proper will be held.

Police Regional Office-Cordillera Regional Director PCSupt. Elmo Francis Sarona will be the guest of honor and speaker during the program. Gov. Bulut and Cong. Begtang will also deliver their respective anniversary messages.

The program will be highlighted by the recognition of Iapayaos who brought recognition to the province in the “Dayaw ti Apayao”.

Other activities of the Say-am Festival include the Agro Industrial Trade and Tourism Fair at the Plaza Grounds, free legal assistance and counseling at the Kabugao Municipal Hall, the ‘panagga-angrad’ or the indigenous games at the Plaza Grounds and the Apayao River and the coronation of the Search for Dayag ti Apayao 2017.

Say-am is a celebration of the founding anniversary of the province and Isnag’s grandest feast or celebration. It is a feast featuring and ushering the traditional way of Isnag’s thanksgiving to the Higher Supreme unseen being called “alawagan” executed and commenced through rituals spiced with pep songs, native chants and dances called the “talip and tad-do”.

There was no Say-am festivity last year as the province was mourning for the late Apayao patriarch, Elias Bulut Sr. (JDP/RMC- PIA CAR)