Amidst the heat of the sun and beach escapades is the summer wind that attracts the sky with colorful flights.
On any fair summer day, even as the city bustles with its affairs, a number of wide-open spaces are filled with strings that extend way up, making the sky a wide canvas.
Kite flying in the Filipino tradition comes with the humble bamboo and paper kite called gurion, the contemporary kites made of cellophane or light fabric, to novelty kites that vary in materials, sizes, and shapes.
Distinctive of our kites are the line across the back for balance and the broad tail, oftentimes attached with narrow strips that flap in the winds, much like that of a bird’s wings at the tip.
Kite festivals around the country help in showcasing the Filipinos’ creativity in making and flying kites, loud festivities that fill the sky with fanciful flights, attracting the old and the young in watching and joining competitions.
Recently held was the Cebu leg of the first ever Philippine Kite Festival at the North Reclamation Area, Cebu Boardwalk. Andy de Leon of Kite Association of the Philippines cites the festivals in helping develop the artistic talents of the Filipinos. “It is important to hone Filipino ingenuity. A significant part of the festival is giving way to the traditional kite, the Gurion. We are talking about kawayan here. I am surprised na rare na ang gurion. What you see most of the time are the colored, plastic-made kites in the sidewalks. Bago mag-mellow down ang ganitong tradisiyon, we have to save it.”
The kite festivals gather people in this time of sun and wind, brimming with the promise of colorful skies and smiles of gathered crowds.
The kite flies overhead, sporting its own brand of color and design, almost magical in its limited yet powerful flight.
Over the years, kite making has lived with the Filipinos. Dragonflies, birds, bears, houses, and almost every other form – soaring high; yes, a breezy testament to our unusual command in craftsmanship.
The older ones talk of cut bamboo, scraped at the insides, curved and strapped together to form the skeleton of the kite, plastered with rice paper; children gather broomsticks, scavenge for used cellophane which they cut into diamonds, triangles or flags and attach tips of orange, yellow or red – whichever way kites may come, they instill vital ties between parents and children.
Our very own saranggolas waft with creative hands mingled with strong societal ties – with our heads faced up, we look up to the blue skies dotted with their flying figures.