Oro fiesta parade peaceful, entertaining-A A +A
By Bobby Lagsa
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
DESPITE the subdued atmosphere to ensure security, the city’s annual fiesta parade was peacefully held and it has entertained the crowd.
This year, the city abolished the street dancing competition instead it showcased the city’s icons with the 18 gigantic Higalas (friends) paraded for the first time.
The 20 footer-Higalas represent the roots of the city, which these personalities characterize that helped shaped what Cagayan de Oro City has become today.
But these Higalas have failed to impress some of those who stood in line and endured the heat of the sun along Apolinar Velez Street and C.M. Recto Avenue and those who waited at the end of the line in Lim Ket Kai Mall.
Many spectators lamented that they were waiting for the actual street dancing – a regular event in the city’s annual fiesta.
The Higalas were outright educational as masters of ceremony stationed at the Kiosko Kagawasan told the story of the Higalas and their contribution to the city, but those who stood far from Divisioria were deprived of knowing their history and contribution.
The various schools’ drum, lyre and bugle corps participated the parade that lasted four hours.
People couldn’t help but compared the city fiesta celebration against established festivals in other cities such as Cebu, Davao and Bacolod.
“We cannot really establish our own festival that would take root as they always changed the name of our festivals and with different themes,” said one observer.
“When we say Cebu, we have Sinulog in our mind, Bacolod is Masskara, but here we named it Higaonon, Kagay-an among other festival names to which all failed to impress our tourists,” said another.
But for Eileen San Juan, chair of the city fiesta celebration, over GMA News said that the Higalaay festival is in line with the new administration’s program to make friends and unite everyone.
Dead street parade
“It’s a dead street parade, there’s nothing really to see, we know who they are,” said another.
But for those who are represented by the Higalas such as the Higaonon, the parade is an acknowledgement of their roots and contribution to the city.
Fausto Rasan, the chieftain of the Higaonon people in the city, said he is happy and they felt important that the city government acknowledged them as part of the city’s history.
While others were unsatisfied, unhappy with the street parade, others felt the opposite with the way the parade was conducted.
“It was good it started early, it’s not yet too hot,” says Ramon, a visitor from nearby Tagoloan town.
A mother whose daughter is an elementary student who joined the parade said she is happy that the elementary students were in front of the parade, “We were here early and we are glad that we are done early too,” she said.
For Tito Mora, a travel agency operator and civic leader, said that he was not able to witness the parade but from he heard, “it was good.”
The city’s Road and Traffic Administration (RTA) regulated the traffic situation around the parade route. Alternate routes were opened.
According to City Police Director Senior Supt. Graciano Mijares, the staging of the street parade was a success and that there were no untoward incidents recorded.
Mijares said they have augmented the police troops in all corners of the city to secure hundreds of spectators and tourists joining the city’s festivities.
Mijares said intelligence monitoring has been intensified and crime prevention measures are undertaken with the conduct of 24-hour fixed checkpoints.
He said motorized units and beat patrols are also being maintained to guarantee safety of visitors and residents.
Police personnel are manning the streets so that disturbed spectators could easily report security concerns.
Ytem Enhambre, 47, of relocation site, Canitoan, Calaanan, said he enjoyed this year’s fiesta activities and didn’t bother worrying about his safety amid threats of terrorism or any major incident.
Rachel, 15, said she was worried at first, but when she saw police on the streets, “nalipay gyud ko.”
Loloy Calre, 30, a resident of Camaman-an, went to the city with his whole family without worrying of any untoward incident to possibly happen.
“Wala man. Wala man mi mahadlok. Tan-awa gani nang mga pulis daghan kaayo nagkatag lang. Maayo ni ingon ani pirme bisan walay pista,” Calre said.
The police appreciated the people’s cooperation with regard to the security measures like discouraging the wearing of sunglasses, caps and bringing of backpacks at event venues in the duration of the festivities
Enhambre said: “Mas maayo man nga dili na magsuot ug kalo ug sunglass kay aron dali ra mailhan ang mga terorista.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 28, 2013.