LEGAZPI CITY (8-Aug-2012/PNA) – It’s the same jubilee for the city’s yearly celebration of its mythical past basically done in an exceptionally colorful mood, but this year’s Ibalong Festival comes fully loaded not only with colors but more fun, excitement, adventure and, of course, economics.
“It will offer awesome packages of entertainment, escapades and investment opportunities that form parts of the new innovations we have introduced to this year’s Ibalong Festival in order to keep abreast with the latest changes in the tourism and business investment trends,” City Mayor Geraldine Rosal on Wednesday here said.
The festival that would keep everyone in the city animated during the whole of this month, formally kicks off on August 10 and closes on the 31st with the lady mayor rendering her “Ulat sa Bayan”, a most awaited report on the state of the city that would tackle her administration’s achievement for the whole year starting in August 2011.
It will be staged in an open ground at the newly developed Legazpi City Boulevard, a multi-billion-peso urban development site that opens a multi-dimensional facet of urbanization.
This development is giving way to the phenomenal growth the city has been achieving in the fields of tourism, commerce, industry, agriculture, information technology (IT), business process outsourcing (BPO), infrastructure, housing and transportation, among other aspects of local economy.
Part of this development is the construction of a new road network traversing the city’s countryside at the opposite side of the Mayon Volcano area and crisscrossing a series of mountains to connect with the new Legazpi City International Airport now undergoing works in Barangay Alobo, Daraga, Albay, 12 kilometers away.
The new road network that would also serve as a convenient farm-to-market link for several upland barangays in the city offers a panoramic view of the open seas of Albay Gulf, the entire landscape of the city’s urban center and of the majestic Mt. Mayon.
A considerable portion of the sprawling development site has been assigned to housing projects for the city’s informal settlers and another section for commercial and industrial uses where several investors are now starting to put up permanent structures for their businesses.
Among them is Sutherland Global Services that will open a giant BPO center which will accommodate at least 1,500 call center seats.
The Ibalong Festival kick-off program on August 10 will be highlighted by the Street Party that will see the participation of every man on the street in a night-long celebration through music, dances and other fanfares. The Ibalong Beer Plaza at the Boulevard which will run up to the last night of the month-long festival will also open on the same occasion.
Everyday and night on, various “full of life” activities have been lined up: Party Pilipinas at the Ibalong Center for Recreation (ICR) on Aug. 11; Viva Band and Chorale Concert at the Legazpi Boulevard on Aug. 12. This musical group is composed of persons with disabilities organized by the Albay provincial government, and supported by the city government and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Opening of the Ibalong Art Exhibit at the Pacific Mall that will run up to Aug. 30 will be on Aug. 15; “Mga Rawitdawit ni Yling and Tigsikan” sa Primera Café at the Landco Business Park, a presentation of Bicol poems and literature on Aug. 16; Food Festival and Services to be spearheaded by the Legazpi City Tourism Council at the Peñaranda Park on Aug. 17.
“Hataw na, Fun Run pa” at the Legazpi City Coastal Road early in the morning to be participated in by thousands of physical fitness and fun run buffs; High-stake Two-Cock Daytime Derby at the Gallera de Legazpi; and Dragon Boat (preliminary) race- off the Legazpi Boulevard shoreline and the 21-K Mayon Trail Run around the foot of Mt. Mayon, all on Aug. 18.
Aug. 18-19 will stage at the Legazpi Boulevard beach the First Ibalong Women Beach Volleyball Invitational Tournament to be participated by over a dozen teams from various universities and colleges around the country; Ibalong Cup tennis tournament at the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional office court here; and the Musical Session VII FCR Concert at the boulevard from 6 pm to 6 am of the same days.
Aug. 19 has also been set for the Mayor Geraldine B. Rosal Golf Tournament at the Doña Pepita Eco-Park and Golf Course to be joined by top-rank national and international golfers; Ibalong Local Airsoft Competition at the Landco Business Park; Dragon Boat Competition (finals); the Ibalong Invitation Karate Championship at the Liberty Commercial Center; and the First Ibalong Fire Dance Competition at the boulevard in the evening.
The Bayong (native basket)-Making Contest and Pili Kulinarya Roadshow will be held at the AVP Hall on Aug. 20 while the “Kulturang, Kusturang Gayon sa Ibalong (A Spanish Night to Remember) will be held on Aug. 21 at the ICR.
On Aug. 22, the Ibalong Recreational Football Championship will be played at the Bicol University Football Field here and the IT-BPO Career Caravan takes off at the Concourse Convention Center on the next day.
Aug. 23-24 will be for the 1st Ibalong Mayor’s Cup Inter-Agency Ten-Pin Bowling Tournament at the Embarcadero de Legazpi with the Philippine Tourism Conference on Climate Change Adaptation opening its two-day gathering of national and international tourism and climate change adaptation workers at the Oriental Hotel on Aug 23.
The 1st Bicol Regional Organic Agriculture Symposium at the ICR will be on Aug. 24 along with the Ibalong Street Carnival at the city’s downtown area while the city, supported by various stakeholders holds on Aug. 24-28 its 4th Bicol Microfinance Trade Fair and Bazaar at the Landco Business Park.
Aug. 24-26 is also set for the Tukad sa Mayon, a mountain climbing activity to the summit of Mt. Mayon for hundreds of local and international mountain climbers. Aug. 25 at the same time is set for the holding of the Legazpi Bicycle Caravan; Mutya ng Ibalong talent competition at the Pacific Mall Activity Center ; and the Clash-Core at the Albay Astrodome.
The 1st Ibalong National Uphill Marathon; Ibalong Invitational Arnis Tournament; and Mutya ng Ibalong Swimsuit Competition will be altogether on Aug. 26. The coronation night is set on Aug. 29 at the ICR.
Aug. 30 comes the biggest highlight of the festival: the Ibalong Epic Presentation, a parade of colorful floats and street dancing contingents competing for this year’s championship in street presentation depicting the historical account on the origin, superstitions and beliefs of the ancient Bicolanos as they survived the adventures against natural and supernatural forces.
The Ibalong Festival relives the time of Bicol ancient heroes—Baltog, Handyong and Bantong, their adventures and tribulations in a colorful street presentation where groups decked from different schools all over the region present scenes from the Ibalong epic. (PNA)