Celebrated every 3rd Sunday of January by the Municipality of Buenavista in honor of the town’s Patron Saint Sr. Sto. Nino. This cultural festival that was first celebrated in 2007 made maximum use of the rich cultural tradition of the oldest municipality of the Province of Guimaras. The presentation of songs, dances and musical tableau depicts the various influences Buenavista has been subjected to. “Palayag” marked a new footprint during the 2008 Buenavista Centennial Celebration. “Palayag” is defined as boat sailing with the use of “Layag” which is an old form or “Kinaradto” way of sea travel.
Swift “Paraos,” connected Iloilo and Guimaras. In 1850’s, Iloilo Port was opened by Sir James Bowring, British Governor of Hongkong as an international port. Negros Island then has no harbor that could cater for bigger ships so they used Guimaras Island as a transship point to Iloilo and Panay Island. This is the reason why Jordan Wharf has the sugar bulk. While Jordan wharf was prospering, Buenavista was still enjoying with its sandy shore.
Dr. Jose P. Rizal stated in his diary written in August 4, 1896, “Opposite Iloilo there is an island where the families go for picnics…. there are various vessels with foreign flags….” The land being referred to is surely Guimaras and the picnic place is the white sand, the “pasil of baybay”. “Baybay”(which is presently called Sto. Rosario), was the beach where sailboats from Guimaras Island daily bring in cargoes of fruits, fish and vegetables to Iloilo City. The same beach had been a subject for panting by an artist Miguel Zaragoza (1849-1923), and being exclaimed “Buena Vista” by the Iloilo Spanish Gobernadorcillo. The present day wharf was just constructed during World War II, the time of Gen. Douglas McArthur.
The beauty of our place as coupled by the craft of our people in miniature boat making was not just a culture by accident, but a culture rooted in our past. The natural beauty of our place and the economy of our town is dramatically boosted up by the swift and gaily “layag”-using sea vessel.
Thus, PALAYAG is a festival of the beauty of our town and the hospitality of the Buenavistahanons which can only be experienced by other people if they will travel, treck and tour our places.