MANILA, Philippines - It was a colorful explosion of culture as Gen. Santos City recently showcased its artistic side with the celebration of the the multi-awarded Kalilangan Festival as part of its 73rd founding day.
Derived from the root word "Kalilang", the festival literally means "celebration" in the Maguindanaoan dialect. The month-long festivity featured an assortment of sports tournaments, native Flipino games, cultural shows, barangay gatherings and special interest events.
According to Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio, Kalilangan is a social gathering marked by the exchange of amenities among traditional leaders, elders, allies and townsfolk.
She said that this year's festivity bore the theme "Convergence in Divergence: Enriching Heritage, Bridging Cultures," which highlighted the unity and diversity among peoples of various faiths and ethnic origins which have made Gen. Santos their home.
The cultural extravaganza is also a pageantry of unique and colorful ethnic rites, rituals and traditions like marriage celebrations, religious ceremonies, anniversaries, royal enthronements and other social activities.
Kalilangan is a two-time recipient of the Best Tourism Event (Culture and Arts Catergory, City Level) of the Association of Tourism Officers in the Philippines in 2009 and 2011.
A highlight of the event is Salubungan "Parada ng Lahi" which reenacted the landing in 1939 of Gen. …