GENERAL SANTOS CITY, March 3 (PIA) -- It’s more fun sa Kalilangan!
This is people’s simple and plain expression of joy for this year’s festival of the people, the “Kalilangan Festival” which gathers and connects people.
The 16th Kalilangan Festival and the 73rd Foundation Anniversary celebration of General Santos City ended Monday (Feb 27) with a even as the day was also declared special holiday for the Generals (people of GenSan) pursuant to Proclamation No. 331 issued by President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Festival Director Mimi Abiera said this year’s celebration highlighted the “convergence in divergence” celebrating the cultures of tri-people who despite being diverse have lived to co-exist with one another and enriched these cultures even more.
Tri-people refers to Indigenous Peoples (IPs), the Muslims and the Christians who for decades now have shared common histories, cultures and traditions manifested by a long-time respect for coexistence.
Kalilangan 2012 is an annual celebration that gives recognition to its founding pioneers—the early inhabitants who were the Blaans and Maguindanaons and the pioneering settlers represented by the Luzon-Visayan speaking peoples, said Abiera.
With the theme, "Convergence in Divergence: Enriching Heritage, Bridging Cultures," this year’s celebration was all poised to give more fun and entertainment out of the rich culture and heritage the city has been endowed with.
But the Kalilangan was not just fun, it was also jampacked with educational and relevant activities that offered to engage diverse audiences. These activities aimed to promote increased awareness and appreciation of the city’s heritage and uniqueness.
According to organizers they were very proud of the event as it did not only feature GenSan’s heritage and culture but also complemented with the city's vision of “economic activity, promotion of tourism and agriculture and responsible entertainment.”
“Our aim is to revitalize and invigorate our experiences of these vibrant and wonderful cultures and traditions,” Abiera mused saying last year the 12th ATOP (Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines) named Kalingan Festival as 2011 Best Tourism Event of the Philippines, Culture and Arts Category-City Level..
On February 10, a Soft Opening for the fest was held at the Oval grounds with Mini Zoo, Plaza Bazaar, Food Galore and Carnival rides as the celebration’s opening salvo.
The Festival’s Grand Opening on February 21 highlighted various activities such as the traditional houses exhibit, snake and fish show, agri fair, recoreda sa barangay, farmer’s day - fiesta bonanza and Caritela, Tanghal-Mindanao State University Theater, hiphop dance contest, RGMA Singing for Peace in Mindanao, cookfest of indigenous products, Laro ng Lahi, sports competitions, motocross, rodeo competition, dance dport competition, battle of the banda-layag and many others.
Once again, the crowd drawer ethnic sports competition "Laro Ng Lahi" has “hooked” audience to either participate or cheer for their most betted traditional game. These included Kadang Marathon, Sack Race, Patintero, Palosebo, Tug of War, Sungka, Skipping Rope, Tabanug (kite-flying) and the board game Dama.
It was also an awesomely fun-filled adventure for the young and the techno-savvy as they were introduced to new brand of activity---the Cosplay or Costume Playing but this time, it was the Pinoy heroes who took center stage, not the foreign characters.
As it has always been, the Closing or Salubungan “Parada ng Lahi” at 5:00 A.M. Monday was dramatic as Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio led some 1,000 people in a parade to commemorate the arrival of different tribes headed by General Paulino Santos, by whom the city was named after.
Custodio, reminiscent of the contributions of the pioneering settlers during the early years chanted tributes and salutes in honor of them taking pride of the significant developments they have introduced in this area.
The finale also brought contingents from all over SocSarGen (South Cotabato-Sarangani-General Santos City) garbed in multihued costumes and props for a dance challenge in Kadsagayan Street Dancing.
The barangay City Heights-sponsored Bambad National High School was named champion with Php120,000.00 cash prize.
The SPED Integrated School bagged the first-runner up while the GenSan Trade School’s Indak Kabataan Performing Group earned the 2nd-runner up title.
For 17 days straight, not only the Generals became living witnesses to the fun, parties and merry-making but also international and local tourists alike who came in to take a peep of the widely popular Kalilangan fest.
Nighttime fell and so the festivity ended with an artistically-crafted colorful fireworks display, however, the Disco sa Kalye went on to heat up discogoers till the wee hours.
To the organizers, the 2012 Kalilangan’s success was all worth the efforts and pains they have to go through in the course of the event preparation. Now they smile and bask at people’s testimony of success—a proof that their hardwork has indeed paid off! (CTA/PIA General Santos City)