‘Favorites’ Lumad Basakanon proclaimed grand slam winner

ALTHOUGH already an established crowd darling, reaping all the awards at the Sinulog Tribu sa Kabataan came as a surprise for Barangay Basak San Nicolas, Cebu City.

Basak San Nicolas, more popularly known as “Lumad Basakanon,” took home the best in costume and musicality awards and bagged first prize in the ritual showdown and street dancing categories.

It bested all the other nine contingents, including fellow crowd darling, 2019 Sinulog sa Barangay sa Dakbayan champion Banay Labangon of Barangay Labangon.

Lumad Basakanon took home a total cash prize of P570,000.

Basak San Nicolas Barangay Captain Norman Navarro couldn’t help but shed tears of joy after they were proclaimed the grand slam winner.

“We have been participating in the Sinulog for the past 31 years. We’ve had our share of victories and failures over the years, but we offer all of them to Señor Sto. Niño,” he said in Cebuano.

Apart from their trademark patterns and choreography, Basak San Nicolas proved how much of a cultural phenomenon they are with their synchronized movements, charm and fluidity from start to finish.

Their story revolved around who farmers found contentment and happiness in their otherwise austere lives.

But their lives were turned upside down after a member of the family fell ill. Despite fearing for the child’s life, the farmers immediately sought the help and guidance of the Holy Child Jesus instead of relying on superstitious beliefs.

“We’ve already done a lot of concepts but this time, we wanted to go back to our roots and start again,” Navarro said.

The village chief admitted that he was initially afraid they would have to back out from the contest held Sunday afternoon, Jan. 12, 2020, at the Cebu City Sports Center.

He lamented that their costumes were nowhere near complete and needed a lot of work.

But despite this, Basak’s brown and green ensemble matched with a heavily beaded headdress landed them the best in costume award.

Basak San Nicolas is set to compete against contingents in the free interpretation category in the Sinulog Grand Parade on Sunday, Jan. 19.

Last year, Basak placed sixth in the grand ritual showdown in the free interpretation category.

This time, Navarro said, the name “Lumad Basakanon” will be beside “Barangay San Nicolas” to show that the cultural household name and the entire village are one in offering their veneration to Señor Sto. Niño.

Aside from Basak, other winners in the Sinulog Tribu sa Kabataan ritual showdown were Banay Labangon (2nd); Banauan Cultural Group of Barangay Guadalupe (3rd); Banay San Nicolas of Barangay San Nicolas Proper (4th); Banay Budlaan of Barangay Budlaan (5th); Pundok Maampoon of Barangay Cambinocot (6th); and Tribu Mabolokon of Barangay Mabolo (7th).

For the street dancing, second place went to Labangon, followed by Banay San Nicolas Proper, Guadalupe and Cambinocot.

For best in musicality, other winners included Guadalupe (2nd), Labangon (3rd), Banay San Nicolas Proper (4th) and Budlaan (5th). (RTF)