Binalbal Festival of Tudela, Misamis Occidental

The Binalbal Festival is celebrated every first of January in Tudela, Misamis Occidental in the Philippines. Binalbal means “Balbal” in Cebuano, symbolize a unique tradition and belief of the town about supernaturals, the witches, ogres, and the like elements which can be compared to the Halloween feast. The beginning of the celebration is called the “ Masquerade Ball" which begins every 31st of December, together with the new Year welcome until noontime of January first with the grand parade of the Festival.    
Early years, this celebration is like a simple activity of Tudela’s locals, to wear a mask during New Year’s Day. The prominent people in the metro get involved in this event in the early 1930s, then, later on, the local government recognized it as their yearly festival. In current days, people are still patronizing the celebration the way their culture evolved with civilization. 

During the feast, most of the households are preparing the native type of delicacies like Suman, puto Biko (types of rice cake), and the like. Several groups wear mascara (mask) imitating some elements with voluminous make-up roaming on the street; while some are visiting their neighbors and families and asking for some presents. The household they visited will offer them cooked foods or even be invited to eat. This cultural tradition, like a sticky rice cake, binds their people’s unity, promotes lasting love, giving thanks for the prosperous harvest and good luck.     

Binalbal Festival may have some similarities from any occasions in the country, but the Tudelanians had the reputation to claim this longtime tradition. Nowadays, the local Government allocates financial support for the yearly celebrations. 

HOW TO GET THERE
The closest airport to reach Tudela is the Ozamis Airport. It is about 31 kilometers or about more than an hour's drive from downtown Ozamis. From there, hire a motorcycle going to Ozamis City Bus terminal, then catch up a Bus bound for Tudela or Dipolog. Get off to Tudela Bus Terminal.  



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