Rodeo Festival 2016 Masbate, Philippines

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The 2016 Festival Logo

The 2016 Festival Logo

 

The most exciting National Rodeo Finals is ongoing at the Masbate Grand Arena, with Awards night on the 16th.

I have been attending the festival for three years in a row, and I have booked my flight and my hotel for this year, too. Some friends are saying they will be in Masbate for up to 3 weeks, finding the rodeo week a rather short period to truly enjoy Masbate. Yes, Masbate is the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines, and hosts the biggest rodeo event in the Philippines. maybe even the biggest in all of Asia.  And on top of the rodeo, visitors will find side-trips to be so rewarding, seeing waterfalls, white sand beaches, centuries-old lighthouses, and many more attractions.

First of all, the Rodeo.

Masbate has the only proper rodeo arena in the country. Whereas all the rodeos I have visited make do with bamboo to fence off the arena, and some with GI pipes temporarily welded, Masbate has sturdy fences, a proper stage, bleachers, and a stand for the rodeo officials. There is also a canteen, and a medical facility, plus a whole complement of Red Cross volunteers. There is also a proper stockyard where the cattle is kept, supervised by veterinarians to make sure the cattle are properly handled, properly fed.

Clearing the Arena

The event started with a parade around the city  to the arena. Participants from the competing teams from all over the country, professionals and students taking vet-med or other agri-animal related courses join officials and ranch owners as they walk or ride horses to the arena.  This year, there were Manila based personalities like Congressman Roman Romulo, Congressman Sherwin Gatchalian, Ms Risa Hontiveros, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez-Roxas, and guests of honor Mr Andre Kahn, chairman and owner of ad agency J Romeo, and Monette Ituralde Hamlin of Team Asia. The city mayor, the Congressman from the third district of Masbate, town mayors from around Masbate City, and the provincial Governor Vince Revil plus his wife, Vice Governor Kaye Revil came in full force, in cowboy get up. Truly cowboy country.  Opening ceremonies were held, including a ceremonial cattle branding led by Rodeo Masbateno Inc. President Judge Manuel Sese and the guests. An exhibition bull riding and casting down events came thereafter. The real games begin in the afternoon. I have yet to take photos of the 2016 games – – – meanwhile I have posted photos I took from previous rodeos in Masbate to give you a glimpse of what to expect.

Parade

On Day 2, the traditional Cattle Drive begins. About 120 cattle from the city center are released and are herded by cowboys on the city streets towards the arena. I have called this in the past “Fun Run ng Mga Baka”. Some friends have likened it to the “Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.

Rodeo Masbateno, Inc also hosts the Rodeo Festival, scheduled April 12-17 this year (2016). In photo is the Cattle Drive which ushers the start of the rodeo season.

Rodeo Masbateno, Inc also hosts the Rodeo Festival, scheduled April 12-17 this year (2016). In photo is the Cattle Drive which ushers the start of the rodeo season.

 

The events will keep you riveted. Bring your cameras and click away. To some people, the most awaited event is Bull Riding. In here, cowboys mount the bull from inside a pen, and need to be on top and riding the bull as it is released. It takes 8 seconds to qualify, and yet majority actually fall on the first second or so.  Those who make it are scored based on how they rode the bull, how they held their hats on the other hand, and how they managed the bull. It is a show, a spectacle.

Bull Riding

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Another event some people find as their favorite is the carambola. It can be a 2-man carambola, a 4-man carambola. There is also a women’s division. Carambola is played with two teams of competing cowboys chasing 2 cows on the arena. The first team that grabs a cattle by the neck “owns” the cattle and they just need to bring the cattle down and tie the cattle’s feet. If the cattle is unable to rise after 10 seconds, it is ruled as a good play. Participants compete for the best time.

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Carambola

 

There is also casting down. Teams lasso the cattle and then throw a lasso around its torso so they can pull and cast the cattle down, and tie its feet.

Casting Down

 

There are also lassoing events. Either in foot, or on horseback.

Parade

 

The events are officiated by members of VROoM, the Volunteer Rodeo Officials of Masbate, and mounted by the Rodeo Masbateno, Inc., supported by the provincial and city governments of Masbate as well as the private sector.

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National Rodeo Director Leo Gozum, extreme right.

 

RMI Board of Trustees meeting on Rodeo 2016

RMI Board of Trustees meeting on Rodeo 2016

 

 

AFTER OR IN BETWEEN THE RODEO: Around Masbate

Buntod Reef. Within Masbate City.

Buntod Reef. Within Masbate City.

 

Mangroves at Buntod

Mangroves at Buntod

 

Mandaon

a beautiful Mandaon zigzag view

 

Bat-ongan Cave. Mandaon Town

Bat-ongan Cave. Mandaon Town

 

Catandayagan Falls. Approached from Buntod. Part of Ticao Island

Catandayagan Falls. Approached from Buntod. Part of Ticao Island

 

Punta Bugui Lighthouse. Aroroy

Punta Bugui Lighthouse. Aroroy

 

Balud Lighthouse. Jintotolo, Balud

Balud Lighthouse. Jintotolo, Balud

 

Famous Palani beach

Famous Palani beach

 

 

Learn how to make tapa

Learn how to make tapa

 

Get to visit a farm and watch how cattle is herded

Get to visit a farm and watch how cattle is herded

 

Fazenda, a beautiful rehab center operated by the religious

Fazenda, a beautiful rehab center operated by the religious

 

Have lunch or dinner at the city's most famous SuTuKil, extremely good food at very affordable prices

Have lunch or dinner at the city’s most famous SuTuKil, extremely good food at very affordable prices

 

Visit the Santo Entierro at the heritage house called Villa Bayot

Visit the Santo Entierro at the heritage house called Villa Bayot

 

If you have more time, island hop and you might just find this old man and the sea

If you have more time, island hop and you might just find this old man and the sea

 

Get your gears ready. Pack your summer shirts and shorts, swimwear, and cameras. Book early. And be at the most exciting festival there is in the Philippines. The Masbate Rodeo festival. April 12-17, 2016.

Please see the Rodeo Masbateno facebook for more details

https://www.facebook.com/Rodeo-Masbate%C3%B1o-325913524107222/

 

Rodeo Festival facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/rodeofestival/?fref=ts

Rodeo 2016 Logo final

 

 

 

Masbate Rodeo 2014

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I went to Masbate to attend the National Rodeo Finals for the second time, this time making sure I witness the whole thing – – – from the Grand Parade to the Awards Night.

THE GRAND PARADE: April 8
The Grand Parade officially ushers the opening of the competition, starting with the participants from all over the Philippines and the rodeo officials. The parade ended at the Rodeo Arena where the opening ceremonies were held as soon as all the participants, officials, and guests were in the arena.

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student and professional teams joined the parade

Father Mark

cowboy priest, Father Mark Sese

Gov Joey on foot

guest of honor, Albay Governor Joey Salceda

Judge Sese

El Presidente, Judge Manuel Sese

Libona

Libuna team, with Rodeo King Kenneth Ramunal

Magayon

Magayon Dancers brought in by Governor Joey Salceda from Albay

Maloli

Rodeo Masbateno official Maloli Espinosa

whipcracking on the road

whip cracking demo on the road while on parade

BSU

my favorite Rodeo 2014 team, Benguet State University

1509998_10152315569427570_850442236025521925_n Brahmanz CDO Horsemen CLSU Edwin Du Flag Bearer Xavier

 

CATTLE DRIVE
Next day, April 9, was the Cattle Drive. Some 140 heads of cattle were released from the city center , tru the streets of Masbate, to the Rodeo Arena. Cowboys on their horses herded the cattle, with some going astray. The events organizers have teams of cowboys assigned to handle cattle that will stray from the herd.

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140 heads of cattle at the city center, prior to the cattle drive

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real-life cowboys herding the cattle thru the city streets

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THE EVENTS

The events consisted of Penning (herding assigned cattle to the pen within 5 minutes), carambola (2 person or 4 person carambola) where cowboys put down a cow and tie them up, Rustling from Horseback, rustling on foot, lassoing, and bullriding.

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Bull riding is the most exciting. Cowboys need only to ride the bull for 8 seconds to qualify. This one obviously didn’t make it, and was lucky he was not harmed

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2-person carambola. Even a rodeo official escapes from a rampaging bull by climbing the fence

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this event is called CASTING DOWN. The cattle must be roped in by the head and by the diaphragm, and must be felled and tied down

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I liked this event last year and decided to support the rodeo this year

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I took this photo on day one, and this guy covering his face would turn out to be the Rodeo King, student division

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This event called PENNING was introduced only this year. Cowboys need to pen in 2 cows, selected at random. No other cow has to be in the pen to qualify and, if an unwanted cow joins, it must be extricated or else the team loses

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THE PARTICIPATING TEAMS

Teams from various schools offering animal husbandry or veterinary medicine from all over the country participated. From as far north as Benguet, to the Visayas and Mindanao. They were joined by professional players, real life cowboys working in ranches.

 

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Masbate Rodeo 2014 125

Masbate Rodeo 2014 126

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Masbate Rodeo 2014 130

 

 

 

TAKING CARE OF ANIMALS AND MEN

 

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the cattle were taken care of and well fed throughout the event

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a medical team is always on standy

THE AWARDS NIGHT

Awarding of individual and team prizes happened on a Saturday night, April 12, 2014.

This season roved to be an upset. The perrennial Rodeo King, Kenneth was injured early on, and was prevented by doctors from further competitions. The Rodeo King and Queen, student division, went to Benguet State University and to the Central Mindanao University players, respectively. Perrennial team champion Xavier University from Cagayan de Oro was elevated to the Hall of Fame, and this years champion was my favorite Benguet State University.

The awarding was preceded by a beautiful ceremony with candles held by everyone lit one by one, and the ritual seemed magical. When all the candles were lit, the bonfire was lit ablaze. Everyone feasted on catered dinner and a roast calf at the center of the arena. There were fireworks at the start, and beer and dancing at the end.

Fireworks started the awards ceremonies

Fireworks started the awards ceremonies

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the barkers during the events were also the night's emcees

the barkers during the events were also the night’s emcees

The president of Rodeo Masbateno, Inc was there - - Judge Manuel Sese

The president of Rodeo Masbateno, Inc was there – – Judge Manuel Sese

the participants and guests

the participants and guests

photographers and TV networks covered the event from start to finish

photographers and TV networks covered the event from start to finish

live cowboy music

live cowboy music

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(Volunteer Rodeo Officials of Masbate) in a celebratory mood

(Volunteer Rodeo Officials of Masbate) in a celebratory mood

the traditional cowboy cigar, lit to mark the rodeo's success

the traditional cowboy cigar, lit to mark the rodeo’s success

The night was capped by merry making - - drinks and line dancing

The night was capped by merry making – – drinks and line dancing

 

Next year’s rodeo is scheduled April 14-18, 2015. I will again be there.