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Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Rolando “Klarex” Uy extended an invitation to the residents of the city to actively participate in spreading the vibrant culture of the city and contribute to maintaining peace and order.
These are the statements of the chief of staff of the City Mayor’s Office, Shiela Lumbatan, following the announcement by the City Tourism Office that everything is ready for the festival, which promises to offer various activities to entertain and attract the public, Friday.
“The people of Cagayan de Oro have a strong devotion to their patron Augustine, and they celebrate his festival with great respect,” Lumbatan said, adding that this annual event, the ‘Higalaay Festival,’ has significant cultural importance for the residents.
“Thankfulness is the central theme of this celebration,” he said, adding that as residents expressed their gratitude for the blessings and intercession of San Agustin.
According to Lumbatan, they show their gratitude through various activities and actions, which show the comfort and warmth of the people of Cagayan de Oro.
“The festival is not only a religious occasion, but also a display of the unique culture and tradition of the city,” said Lumbatan.
He said vibrant parades, lively street dances, and elaborate floats depicting the history and heritage of Cagayan de Oro filled the streets.
“The residents actively participated in these activities, showing their talents, creativity, and unity as a community,” said Lumbatan.
During the earlier ‘Higalaay Festival: In Focus’ program sponsored by the City Information Office, Acting City Tourism Officer Rico Libre emphasized that this year’s festival will feature seven of the same core events as last year, with only two new additions.
The newly introduced core events include the ‘Oro Fiesta Sa Baryo’ program at the Pelaez Sports Center, inviting all barangays to participate in traditional games, and the Premier Volleyball League (PVL) tour, which will be held at the city’s international convention center.
In addition, there are a total of 49 events, including nine core events, listed in Cagayan de Oro City’s festival calendar.
Libre mentioned that 90 percent of the budget for core events has been allocated, while the registration for parallel events is at 80 percent.
He emphasized that with the easing of health restrictions, many organizations are eager to participate in the festival, even without financial assistance from the city, because they aim to revive the spirit of the festival in the city.
Libre expressed the city’s openness and inability to reject their participation.
The other seven core events of the festival consist of the expected annual Miss Cagayan de Oro pageant, the Higalaay Festival launching, the International Dragon Boat competition, Rhythmic Field Demonstration, Float and Civic Military Parade and Street Dancing, and Fluvial Parade and Procession.
“The festival emphasizes the friendship and hospitality of the residents,” added Lumbatan.
Lumbatan said that it has been confirmed that the grand Higalaay Festival launching will take place at the scenic De Oro River Boulevard, marking the beginning of a month full of joyful celebrations and cultural showcases.
Residents of Cagayan de Oro and nearby areas are urged to work together to embrace the city’s rich heritage and help create a dynamic and lively atmosphere during the Higalaay Festival, according to Lumbatan.
He also said that guests and visitors were warmly welcomed and embraced as part of the celebration, showing the true warmth and friendliness of the locals.
“It becomes an opportunity for residents to strengthen their connections, develop a sense of belonging, and develop a harmonious community spirit,” he said.
In general, according to Lumbatan, the celebration of the feast of San Agustin in Cagayan de Oro is characterized by deep gratitude, energetic festivities, unity, and acts of charity.
“This cultural activity will not only strengthen the sense of identity and community of the residents but also show the rich heritage of the city to visitors and guests,” Lumbatan emphasized.
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