Embraced by the mighty mountain ranges of the Cordillera, Caraballo, and Sierra Madre, Nueva Vizcaya is home to 18 indigenous peoples which include the major tribes of Ifugaos, Gaddangs, Isinais, Dumagats, Kalanguyas, and Bugkalots.
With such a diverse demographic profile, the Cagayan Valley region province enjoys a colorful culture, something that it takes pride in and celebrates during its Ammungan Festival.
The 11th staging of the festival on May 22-26 will mark Nueva Vizcaya’s 180th founding anniversary when it was separated from its mother province of Cagayan in 1839 by a Spanish royal decree.
The five-day festivity is coined from the Gaddang word “ammungan” and the Ilocano “ummungan” which both mean “gathering.”
Governor Carlos Padilla said the festival will showcase the strides made by the province in terms of economy, tourism, governance, and respect for indigenous peoples' rights.
This year’s theme, “Unity: Foundation of Success for the Province of Nueva Vizcaya,” will celebrate the peaceful coexistence of peoples from various cultural roots.
Festivities will kick off on May 22 with an agri-trade fair, Gawang Vizcayano exhibit, landscaping contest, family day, Laro ng Lahi, the Saniata ti Vizcaya pageant, community medical services, and evening musical show. There will also be a three-day Arts and Music Festival at the People’s Museum and Library, the former capitol building which was recently declared by the National Museum as an Important Cultural Property
The locus of the cultural extravaganza will be on May 24 with the parade of floats; street dance competition, which will feature municipal contingents interpreting contemporary renditions of ethnic dances; and the Ummungan Ti Umili: People’s Night.
The festival will also recreate the locals' way of life at the municipal booths which will display organic agricultural produce, processed food, and ethnic souvenirs and crafts.
Spicing up the celebration are fringe activities such as a motor show, talent contests, an endurance challenge, a historical congress and a farmers’ day.