The Hiligaynon term for kite is borador. Children today are not fond of playing kites but every Katagman Festival, a kite-flying contest is held and this year, I decided to watch it myself for the first time. I’ve always wondered how kites fly high into the air and how they can dance gracefully with it but I’ve never been as curious after I watched The Kite Runner.
I woke up early that day so I can be at the venue, Brgy. Trapiche. Unfortunately, the program started an hour after my nephew and I arrived. Thirty kites were to be flown that day. I had the chance to glance at the criteria so I had the idea on how the kites were to be judged. Each kite was to be judged by its creativity, uniqueness, and gracefulness. Also, a kite runner can have as many kites as he wishes. The contest is not only limited to Ogtonganons. It’s an open contest and kite runners from Mandurriao, Jaro, and Lapaz also took part in the contest.
Because there were thirty kites, judging was per batch. By tens, the kites were lined up and judges moved from one kite to another so they could look at the kites closely and give the corresponding scores for creativity and uniqueness. Then only five kites will be flown at a time. The kites will be flown for 10-15 minutes so judges can have ample time to judge the kites by its gracefulness.
Buses, jeeps, and private cars that were passing by the highway stopped for a while to have a glimpse of the kites. Many people also cheered as the kites flew high to the air. We screamed when some of the kites fell to the ground and cheered as they were flown back to the air. The grand prize was P7,000 while the second and third placers received P5,000 and P3,000 respectively. Special awards such as Best in Design, Most Graceful, and Most Unique were also given.
Some of the kites have amusing names! There’s one that’s named Kulunatnit (Hiligaynon for bat), Manananggal (mythical creature that severes her upper torso at night. She grows wings, flies, and looks for her prey while the lower torso is left on land. Putting garlic or salt on top of her lower torso will kill the being), Flying Tiger, Half-Bred Species, Toroy-toroy ni Totoy or something like that, and simply Saranggola (Filipino term for kite).
I loved watching kites fly. The specks of different colors and shapes amidst the blues and the whites of the sky overwhelmed me. Yes, I’m that shallow. But the experience taught me to appreciate things. Things such as the wide lot, the green grass, the fresh breeze from the beach behind the lot touching our faces, the children’s laughter, smiles, and screams… the people behind the event, for they helped us remember the only toys the elders had back then and for showing the little kids today that they can have fun even only with sticks, paper/cloth, and a long string… and the experience also made me value the fact that we have the freedom… to fly kites.