‘Tis the season
Catbalogan City gleams
with Joy and Hope
By ADOR LEANDA HURTADO
CATBALOGAN CITY –
Young People, City and School Officials along with other Catbaloganons
from different walks of life got educated, enlightened and empowered
during the 2011 World AIDS Day Commemoration and the Launching of the
2011 Christmas Festival through the Ceremonial Lighting of the City
Christmas Tree at the City Plaza last December 01, 2011.
Dubbed as the “RED
NIGHT”, the event started with a Foot Parade from the plaza and around
major city streets that gathered participation from members of Junior
Chamber International, Inc (JCI) Catbalogan Balud Chapter; students
from different Elementary, Secondary and College Schools; various
Youth Organization, Fraternities and Sororities; and the Stellar
Society of Samar that came in colorful Mardi Gras costumes.
As the official World
AIDS Day (WAD) Program commenced, a game show titled as the “1st HIV
and AIDS Mass Quiz” organized by WARAYA, got the students excited over
answering seven (7) questions related to the commemoration of 2011
World AIDS Day. The WAD Program ended with the Ceremonial Send-Off of
Seven (7) Red Lanterns that were hoisted by groups of stakeholders and
partners. The red lanterns carried seven (7) Key Messages in support
of HIV and AIDS Awareness and these were: (1) Take A Stand… Demand!
(2) Break Free (3) End Stigma! (4) Reach Out; (5) Speak Up! Speak
Loud! (6) Stay Positive! and (7) Our Choice! Our Right!
These same key
messages were worn by the organizers during the event, firmly
promoting HIV and AIDS Awareness. Waray-Waray Youth Advocates (WARAYA),
being the lead organizer of the 2011 WAD is the pioneer youth
organization advocating for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
and Rights (ASRHR) in
Samar and has been educating and empowering young people since
Seven (7) questions
during the quiz show, seven (7) red lanterns bearing seven (7) key
messages, these sevens were part of WARAYA’s “Seven Eleven” Program in
celebration of its 7th Founding Anniversary.
Following right after
the WAD Program was the 2011 Christmas Festival Launching, which
started with some Christmas song numbers followed by the Christmas
Tableau of cute preschoolers from Fun N’ Learn Preschool. In behalf of
the City Government of Catbalogan, City Vice-Mayor Art Sherwin L.
Gabon gave a moving message of gratefulness, hope and the importance
of family as the main reasons of celebrating Christmas. The highlight
of the night was the actual lighting of the approximated 20-Feet
Christmas Tree, followed right after by the 8th Infantry Division,
Philippine Army Stormtroopers Band that gave the accompaniment of
Christmas songs, filling the night with joy and warmth.
The Christmas Tree is
situated on top of the canopy at the side of the plaza colorfully
adorned with Parols commissioned from enterprising inmates from the
Samar Provincial Jail and with nearly 500 colorful bulbs and several
dangling lights brightening the City Hall façade.
Signaling the start of
the 2011 Christmas Festival, several activities were launched on that
eve and are being coorganized by different partners and stakeholders
of the LGU. Starting with the “Wish Ko Lang”-inspired activity of the
Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) City Federation through Federation President
Hon. Dexter M. Uy with their activity “Hingyap Mo, Tatalinguhaun Ko!”
which runs from December 01-11 catering to fellow young people aimed
to share the Christmas spirit.
Making most of her
passion for fashion, First Councilor Stephany Uy-Tan co-organizes with
WARAYA, Samar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (SCCI) and the
Department of Trade and Industry – Samar (DTI) for a unique fashion
trade for a cause. On December 12 at New Maqueda Bay Hotel, the
Fashion Show and Auction Event will highlight pre-loved and unique
collection of various fashion apparel and accessories.
From December 13-16 at
the City Plaza, a Nightly Trade Bazaar will gather exhibitors of
various used items on sale and all for a good cause. The organizers of
the event has decided to donate a hefty percentage of the proceeds to
several indigent families in Catbalogan as assisted by the City Social
Welfare and Development Office through a combination of Noche Buena
packages and some clothing items in time for Christmas.
Capping the festival
is the “Panarit Pamasko: Christmas Carol Singing Contest” slated on
December 14, 2011 at the City Plaza, expected to gather groups of
singers and carolers sharing their melodic renditions of Christmas
Anchored on the
theme “Ha Pasko may Pagkaurusa, Paglipay ngan Pagpapasalamat!”, City
Mayor Coefredo “Tekwa” Uy and the City Officials in coordination with
different partners and stakeholders aim to ensure a festive and
hopeful celebration of Christmas despite challenges and changes being
faced. After all, this is indeed the season to be jolly!