February 23, 2024

PUGO, La Union – Pugo Catholic School put on a good show to capture the overall title in the much-awaited Tinungbo Festival street dancing competition on weekend.
If funds and time would allow it, PCS will represent the municipality in the street dancing showdown of the Baguio Flower Festival.
PCS topped the headlines four years ago when it won the open category of the Panagbenga street dancing competition in its first try. It won again the following year but it opted not to compete last year due to some concerns in the schedule of the participants.
The Maoasoas National High School placed second anew, but the school is expected to represent the municipality in other festival competitions, which it did in the past and won twice.
Pugo Mayor Precy Martin thanked all the six participating secondary schools in the street dancing showdown, which she claimed is getting bigger and better, especially that the performers have been winning outside the municipality.
Martin said thousands of spectators who watched the competition were impressed at how the participants improved their performances, costumes, and music.
The well-choreographed performances of students from six secondary schools have centered on the rich history of the municipality, its people, culture, and way of life of the proud people of Pugo, which is one of the gateways to the wonders of the Cordillera.
The participating secondary schools followed the guidance and rules set by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts except for some minimal deviations.
Under the NCCA-approved guidelines for the competition, the street dance and cultural showdown featured four basic steps of the festival, which was conceptualized through hard work to ensure that the dance has a story, not mere dancing.
The first step is the “awis,” meaning to encourage everyone to join, cooperate, support; and the “gaget,” which is a mixture of Bago, Iluko, and Cordilleran steps depicting happy footsteps to go to the fields or workplace. The third is the “pugo,” which describes the quail and reminds the people of their town’s history which was abundant of quails, flora, and other fauna; and the “rukbab,” which means whatever blessings the people have, they owe to God. 
The other highlight of the Tinungbo festival was the traditional cook fest, which was won by Barangay Tavora.
The cookfest, aside from depicting the way of life and the rich culture that bind the people as one for generations, highlighted the time-tested way of cooking native rice and freshwater fishes and other local delicacies using light young bamboo internode and grilled over charcoal or low fire which their great ancestors practiced until it slowly vanished over time. – Harley F. Palangchao