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Catbalogan City heralds month long Manaragat Festival

By LAIMINH MABULAY
August 2, 2010

CATBALOGAN CITY  –  The City Government officially opens the Manaragat Festival, the name that Catbalogan’s month long fiesta celebration has come to be known for, today August 2, 2010 as city employees gather for a holy mass at 7 in the morning followed by a foot parade thereafter.

Celebrated in honor of the patron saint of fishermen, St. Bartholomew, whose feast falls on the 24th of August, the Manaragat Festival was dubbed as such in reference to the Maqueda Bay which has been a strong influence on the Catbaloganons’ social and cultural heritage.

Ever since the first Manaragat Festival was first conceptualized in 2007, the celebrations have always been attached to a theme that best describes the people’s sentiment at the time. This was to stress the need for reflection amid the festivities taking place. The theme for this year is “Celebrating Culture to Mend Differences Towards a Unified and Progressive Catbalogan”, which is a call for reconciliation in the wake of a very heated election season.

For the whole month of August, the City Plaza shall serve as the hub of the celebrations. Nightly activities – both organized by the City Government and this year’s Hermano Mayor, Mr. Ponciano Rosales – shall provide entertainment for interested spectators most of whom are customers of the ongoing Agri-Trade Fair within the vicinity. The Agri-Trade Fair is an income generating scheme of the City Government through the P15,000-rental which entitles a concessionaire to a tent, space sized 12x12, kiosk and three coolers for their business.

Activities in the fiesta calendar were made possible through the efforts of the Tourism Council which is being chaired by City Mayor Coefredo T. Uy and the City Council Committee on Tourism, Mass Media and Public Information chaired by Honorable Councilor Stephany Uy-Tan. In the face of budgetary constraints, the city government managed to attract sponsorships from the private sector, including several local and national businesses.

Coca Cola Incorporated lent 7 tents and 20 coolers while San Miguel Beer lent 10 tents, 34 coolers, 17 kiosks, 34 beer buckets for the food fair. Both Coca Cola Incorporated and San Miguel Beer are major sponsors along with Smart Telecommunications which will also provide tents and freebies for other activities. One of the most awaited events is the SMB night, which is also a treat from San Miguel Beer. The said show will be topbilled by the popular reggae act Brownman Revival and will also feature three local bands.

At the heart of the month long festivities is the Manaragat Festival participated in by 14 schools under the division of Catbalogan.  Each performance colorfully depicts the richness of Maqueda Bay and its significance in the lives of Catbaloganons of old, making it the event that truly captures the essence of the month long celebration: a tribute to a cultural heritage that is deeply attached to the sea.