GenSan Sets Festival of Cultures

Article excerpt

The country's tuna capital, Gen. Santos City, unveils 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 Flipino 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 festival is derived from the word "Kalilang" which means celebration in the Maguindanaoan dialect. Indeed, it 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 native songs, dances, sports, games, as well as its local agro-industrial produce. …