A city celebrating life’s goodness

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By Danny B. Dangcalan

A Walk in the Park

Monday, March 24, 2014

YOU would expect that since Sagay City had just survived two typhoons -- Yolanda on Nov. 8 and Basyang on Jan. 31 -- and is adopting austerity measures, its Sinigayan Festival last week would somehow lack the festivities and color that it used to have with a bigger budget.

Well, it was shortened to three days from the usual five-day festival, but it was still as festive as ever, with merry-makers dancing happily in the streets, chanting, “Dali na, mag-Sinigay sa Sagay!”

“Let’s continue to be united with a greater resolve to sustain the progress of our city even with the mounting challenges,” Mayor Thirdy Marañon told Sagaynons at the opening ceremonies.


Indeed, no typhoon or calamity can ever dampen the spirit of a people who know how to celebrate the good life.

We went to Sagay on March 19, the third and last day of the 18th Sinigayan Festival. It was also the birthday of the late governor Joseph Marañon, and the feast day of St. Joseph.

I have to thank the City Information and Tourism Office (CITO), headed by Helen Arguelles Cutillar, for the thoughtful gesture of picking us up at Sun.Star office at 9 a.m. and driving us back to Bacolod at 3 p.m.

Arriving in Sagay, we immediately proceeded to the Tali-ambong Food Festival Village, where 15 private groups showcased the local cuisine of Sagay. The crabs, shrimps, squids, and shells served for lunch were all fresh catch from the sea.

After lunch, CITO staff Cristina Cuaycong and Jenalyn Lorenzo and student intern Aljohn Araez toured us to the other two festival villages: the Bugay-Sagay Agro Aqua Village, showcasing the harvest from the land and sea of the 25 barangays; and the Dagway Sagay Arts and Culture Village, featuring proudly Sagaynon artistry.

We had a fun time at Dagway Sagay, posing with the beautiful artworks of young Sagaynons, who are students of the Special Program in the Arts.

Our account executives, Grace Buot and Leilannie Kho, our photographer Archie Rey Alipalo, and I felt like children again when we joined the face-painting activity at Dagway Sagay.

We didn’t get to tour the Sinigayan Livestock and Poultry Fair because we proceeded to the starting area of the Mardi Gras streetdancing competition.

I’d say Ms. Tina, Ms. Jen and Aljohn are gracious hosts. They braved the 2 p.m. sun, as scorching as the 12 noon rays, to bring us to the streetdance area near Sagay National High School.

Arriving at the area, one feels the excitement pulsating among the streetdancers. Even the children, soaking wet with perspiration, were still all smiles carrying the Sto. Niño image while dancing.

There were five competing tribes, each tribe composed of at least five clustered barangays. Declared as champion was Tribe No. 1 composed of barangays Old Sagay, Poblacion 1, Poblacion 2, and Tabao.

And with the "selfie" craze, spectators couldn’t contain their enjoyment of the streetdance by just looking, they have to get in the middle of the performance and take "selfie" photos.

Rovelyn Elmision, the queen of Tribe No. 5 who eventually was chosen as the Mardi Gras Queen, got the most "selfie" photos with the spectators. Charming and poised while dancing for an hour in the streets, spectators unabashedly ran to her and take their photos.

At the plaza, after their performances, the streetdancers and the audience perform a unity dance for the environment.

The Sinigayan Festival was held in partnership with the Sinigayan Foundation headed by Engr. Primitivo Rivera Jr. This year’s theme was, “A triumph of faith, resiliency and bayanihan spirit.”

Such a fitting theme for a city rising from the storms, a people celebrating the blessings of life.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 24, 2014.


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