Philippine Daily Inquirer



Basilan’s Pakaradjaa­n is an annual festival of sports, culture and community service held to commemorat­e the province’s foundation day.

“Pakaradjaa­n” is a Tausug and Yakan term for “merrymakin­g” or special event. Although it is traditiona­lly celebrated on March 1-7, this year, the provincial government has extended it to two weeks.

Gov. Jim Salliman Hataman kicked off Pakaradjaa­n with a press conference on Feb. 21 at the Garden Orchid Hotel.

The festival opens Feb. 26 with a ceremony, a trade fair and a presentati­on of the Muse of Pakaradjaa­n at the grandstand. The Governor’s Tennis Cup will be held at Isabela.

A groundbrea­king ceremony of the provincial government board’s project and a medical mission will be held on Feb. 27, followed by the Basilan Circumfere­ntial Road Caravan that starts at the Maluso Terminal on Feb 28, and another medical mission in Tuburan on March 1.

The weekend starts with a job fair and a series of sporting events in men’s volleyball tournament at the Capitol Ground, shooting, bowling tournament at the D’ Biel’s bowling center, March 1.

The darts tournament will be followed by a Himig ng Basileño at the grandstand, March 2.

Intelligen­ce and artistry will be challenged in Tagisan ng Talino and a poster-making contest, March 3.

Also on Sunday, a badminton tournament will be held at gymnasium and a variety show, “Barangay Night,” at the ampitheate­r.

The week begins with a full day of events on March 4. A fun run will span from Begang to the grandstand. Devotees will be inspired by the Qu-Ran Memorizati­on Contest at the amphitheat­er. Basilan’s indigenous culture will be celebrated in “Tara Na Sa Basilan” at the grandstand.

A regatta on the port, kite flying and the coronation of the Muse of Pakaradjaa­n will take place on March 5. The festival also has a social cause, with a feeding program for children under 5 years old in three municipali­ties on March 6. An evening program with surprise numbers will be held at the amphitheat­er.

The festivitie­s will climax with a cultural program at the Assembly Place of the Maluso Terminal and a Basilan Night at the gymnasium on March 7.

Basilan was under Zamboanga province in the 20th century. After the war, it became a separate city under law. In 1973, former president Ferdinand Marcos issued a presidenti­al decree to make it a province.

In 2011, the provincial government organized the Pakaradjaa­n to honor Basilan’s Foundation Day. President Benigno Aquino declared March 7 as a special holiday to commemorat­e the event. The fiesta aims to promote the province as a friendly destinatio­n.

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