Tawo Tawo Festival

Known as the “Agricultural Capital of Negros Oriental”, the city anticipates a better production yield of crops in its magnificent fields of rice. This is where the people look upon the Tawo-Tawo, the scarecrow which repels those pesky “Maya” birds that feed on the rice grains, ensuing a much bountiful yield. With such an effective way of protecting the crops, the people are overjoyed with the abundance of their produce, thus the Tawo-Tawo festival was born in celebration and remembrance of such bountiful harvests, portraying the two important elements of the fields: the scarecrow and the mayas. Woven together, the two form a spectacular portrait of rich history and culture.

Each year the people of Bayawan city set up street dances, performances, and presentations which tell about the city’s rich agriculture. Dancers wore costumes representing farmers, scarecrows, mayas, and carabaos dance on the streets in a beautifully choreographed synchronization of movements. Previously the dance is a competition that is open to everyone on the city, but now the participation has been confined to the 28 barangays present in Bayawan.

The main event of the field presentation is the dance drama telling the city’s famous legend “How Bayawan Got Her Name.” The legend tells that the coming of the Spaniards to the Philippines was the start of the Christian Era here in our country, despite the fact that the foreigners were not welcomed with utmost hospitality, in fact Bayawan was among those who resisted the white-skinned conquerors. The most memorable part of the legend is on a certain Sunday morning where an enraged Bukidnon stormed into the chapel where a mass was held and killed the priest by throwing a lance. That was a sign of open defiance to the Christian faith which took city by storm.