(text and photos from EZ Maps editor Bernard Supetran)
The country’s tuna capital, Gen. Santos City, unveil its artistic side as it celebrates the multi-awarded Kalilangan Festival as part of its 74th founding day.
The month-long festivity kicks off on Feb. 10 with an assortment of sports tournaments, native Filipino games, cultural shows, barangay gatherings, tourism-oriented activities, and special interest events.
Major events include the Grand Opening Ceremonies on Feb. 22, the Sayaw ng Lahi tilt on Feb. 24, and the Salubungan Parada ng Lahi on Feb. 27 which reenacts the arrival of Gen. Paulino Santos in 1939 to organize the coastal town of Dadiangas.
The month-long fete culminates with the Kadsagayan or street dance parade and showdown which will display the dances of the city’s tri-people.
Gen. Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, said that this year’s theme “Tri-People in Unity, Excellence in Harmony” will bring to the fore once more the convergence of the lowland Christian population, the Muslim tribes and the indigenous peoples who have made Gen Santos their home.
“The cultural extravaganza is a pageantry of unique and colorful ethnic rites, rituals and traditions like marriage celebrations, religious ceremonies, anniversaries, royal enthronements, and other social activities,” she said.
The fest is derived from the word “Kalilang” which means celebration in the Maguindanaoan dialect, is a social gathering marked by the exchange of amenities among ethnic leaders, elders, and townsfolk.
Custodio added that Kalilangan Festival focuses on the cultural diversity that will enable its people and visitors to revisit and appreciate the city’s richness of our native songs, dances, sports, games, as well as its local agro-industrial produce.
The festival has bagged the Best Tourism Event (Culture and Arts Catergory, City Level) of the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines (ATOP) in 2011 and 2012, and is eyeing a slot in the tourism body’s Hall of Fame this year.
The Hall of Fame is an award given by ATOP to a winner under the same category for three consecutive years.
Formerly known as Dadiangas town of the Empire Province of Cotabato, the city was established in 1939 by Gen. Paulino Santos, administrator of the National Land Settlement Administration, upon the instruction of President Manuel Quezon. It was converted into a city on September 5, 1968 and was named after him.
Aside from being the country’s hub of the tuna industry, the city is also being developed as an ecotourism spot because of its natural wonders, such as the Klaja Karsts. Overlooking the city, Mt. Matutum and Sarangani Bay, it is a splendid location for nature camping, canyoneering, bird watching, and other close-to-nature adventure activities. For adrenaline junkies, it has a 500 and a 300-meter zipline, as well as a cable car.
The city’s also boasts of mountain resorts, as well as historic spots such as the World War II Japanese bunkers, Gen. Paulino Santos Museum, and the Mindanao State University Museum.
For more information, add Kalilangan Festival on Facebook or log on towww.gensantos.gov.ph.