The oldest municipality in Panay, Oton, Iloilo will celebrate its rich and historical and cultural heritage through its 11th Katagman Festival from April 28-May 3, 2013. With the theme, “Ogtong Padulong sa Kauswagan, Kasaysayan Aton Tipigan,” the 14th Katagman Festival alongside the town’s 441st Foundation Day celebration opens on April 28 (Sunday) with the Opening of the Agri Fair, Garden Show and the One-Barangay-One –Product at the Municipal Grounds and the Coronation Night of Hiyas Sang Katagman, 7 p.m. at the town Plaza.
April 29 (Monday) features a Jobs Fair, 8 a.m. at the Heritage Lagoon, Frasorities Day at Katagman Beach, 8 a.m., and the Search for Ginoong Erpat and Ginang Ermat at 6:30 p.m., Oton Plaza; April 30 (Tuesday) with Borador sa Katagman at 7 a.m., Barangay Trapiche, Lampirong Diving Contest at 7 a.m., Fishport, Awarding of Outstanding Ogtonganons and Young Achievers at 7 p.m., Oton Plaza, and the SKMF Dance Craze at 8 p.m., Oton Plaza.
May 1 (Wednesday) Iloilo-Batiano Eco Walk at 5:30 a.m., Oton Plaza
(take-off), Porma Balas at 7:30 a.m., Fishport, Motorboat Race at 7:30 a.m., Fishport, Lampirong Shelling and Eating Contest at 7:30 a.m. Fishport, On-the-Spot Painting Contest at 8a.m., Heritage Lagoon and Zumbra I (tattoo/ Motorshow Contest with Rap and Band Performances at 1 p.m., Multi-Purpose Gym; May 2 (Thursday) with FITS Day, 8 a.m., Municipal Grounds, Laro ng Lahi at 8 a.m., Municipal Grounds and Basketball Exhibition Games at 3 p.m., Multi- Purpose Gym; May 3 (Friday) Unveiling of Bayan ng Oton Marker at 3 p.m., Street Dancing Competition at 4 p.m., Oton Plaza and the Music, Dance and Theater Competition at 6 p.m., Oton Plaza.
After Cebu and Manila, Oton was established in 1572 by the
Augustinian Friars and became the center of Spanish administration in Iloilo. Once known as Ogtong or reef or tidal flat which is the main feature of the area, Oton was a missionary base for the conversion of the entire region.
Oton was once a center of trade route. Prosperity brought about a flourishing community, and so many examples of the early Chinese wares were obtained from the area that it is necessary to explain shortly that Chinese settlers in the area practiced ancient Chinese customs even in the disposal of the remains of their dead. The town became home to several burial rites where gold artifacts, porcelain and carnelian beads where among the rare items recovered.
A rare Chinese burial gold leaf mask, one of the oldest objects found
in Barangay San Antonio, was excavated in the 1960s by Alfredo Evangelista and F. Landa Jocano. The gold leaf mask was to cover the eyes of the dead with its cone-shaped gold cover for the nose. The golden mask has now become the symbol of Katagman Festival and is used as an important prop to the theatrical and dance performances.
In the last 11 years the Katagman Festival of Oton has become firmly established as a major fixture on the local festival calendar, attracting many spectators. The festival has something for everyone, especially for visitors to explore historic sites, participate in heritage activities. Visitors can also enjoy community milestone celebrations.
Katagman Festival is an exciting showcase of the greater Oton’s rich history in culture and recreation where these historic events enriched our community in a way allowed us to learn, be active and connect with others.