Kalinga is officially a Guinness World Records holder for the largest gong ensemble and largest banga (pot) dance participants last February 15, 2023.
The “Awong chi Gangsa” A call of a thousand gongs and “Agtu’n chi Banga” the dance of a thousand pots are part of the 28th founding anniversary of the province and the 4th Bodong Festival 2023 with the theme “Kalinga Lumin-awa.”
Participants came from the different municipalities of Kalinga and the city of Tabuk. The LGU set the minimum participant per municipality to 500 gong beaters and a same number of pot dancers. Some municipalities sent more than double the number.
Guinness Book of World Records Adjudicator Kazuyoshi Kirimura confirmed the participants of “Awong Chi Gangsa,” has 3,440 male gong beaters, and “Agtu’n Chi Banga,” has 4,681 female pot dancers.
Kirimura said an unofficial record set for the gong ensemble was 150 and the pot dance was 250. He said, however, that this is a new category for the Guinness Book of World Records and there Kalinga was the first one to set the record.
Kalinga Governor James S. Edduba said that they want Kalinga to be included in the tourism map. “At the end of the day, we want Kalinga to shine as our theme “Lumin-awa”. We want Kalinga to be known for peace and a safe place to visit and that is why we started with the trekking and the bike fest,” said Edubba.
“The main goal of the event is to unite the different tribes and municipalities of the province in correlation to the Bodong Festival, which is about peace,” said Edduba. “The tourism component is the secondary objective and it will come if the province is united,” he said.
The province has been doing the “awong chi gangsa” Sound of a Thousand Gongs with more than 1,000 dancers from all over the province clad in the native costume dancing the cultural dance “Tadok” of the iKalingas with the sound of the gong locally called gangsa, was first featured during the 19th Kalinga Founding Anniversary and Ullalim Festival on February 14, 2013.
The idea to attempt for the Guinness World Record was first brought out by Bishop Prudencio Andaya in 2018. The attempt was initially set in 2020 but the Budong Festival was then canceled due to the pandemic.
“I want to commend Most Rev. Andaya for not losing his dreams for this attempt to pursue,” said Edduba. “You inspired us to make this dream come true.” He said.
Edduba said that the number one challenge is the resources for the festivity. “The province only paid for the fee for the Guinness which is about 15,000 pounds. Most of the resources were through sponsorship solicitation that was undertaken by Bishop Andaya,” he said.
“I would like also to thank the Mayors for taking care of the logistics in bringing the participants to the venue that includes the meals, transpo, and accommodation,” he said.
“I also would like to thank the participants for their patience in waiting for hours for the adjudicator to finish the validation. They were under the sun and under the rain for two hours but they did not leave their line. This was a big challenge and I’m thankful to them for staying until everything is done.”
Edduba said that facility-wise, the province is not ready for a big influx of tourists after the success of this attempt. “I will request the business sector to meet and plan how to cater to big crowds such as this event,” he said.
Asked if the province will attempt another record, Edduba said that “unless someone breaks our record we will focus on improving our festival.”
“But this practice of “awong chi gangsa” has been ongoing so we will definitely continue to do this every festival,” he said.
“I am also looking for a way to put up a monument where the names of those who participated will be written. This way, we can make them proud for participating in this historic event,” Edduba said. CCT