NO DOUBT, the Pasigarbo sa Sugbo (Festival of all Festivals) made a good comeback last Sunday after a six-year hiatus. It was a success. Last Sunday’s presentation was part of the 450th founding anniversary of the Province.
It showcased the different festivals of the cities and towns whose themes and presentations were patterned after their respective local delicacies. For example, Talisay City, which is famous for its lechon baboy (roasted pig), depicted its “Lechon Festival”; Argao, famous for Torta (but now Hablon), showed its “Torta festival”; and Liloan, which is famous for rosquillos, had “Rosquillos Festival.”
Then governor and now Vice Gov. Hilario Davide III cancelled the holding of the activity during his two terms, saying “it was a total waste of taxpayers’ money.”
Well, male leaders have different concerns and priorities compared to their female counterparts. Male leaders are not so keen and receptive to activities like these, for instance beauty pageants. But females are so excited.
Though a little bit expensive on the part of the participating local government units (LGUs) because they have to use their budget for tourism, it is a chance to promote and bring pride to their LGU as it will showcase and highlight their places and show their talents and creativity. Aside from the prizes, Capitol also subsidized LGUs that had limited budgets.
Considering the non-availability of a bigger venue at the Capitol for the Pasigarbo, Gov. Gwen Garcia requested Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella that the performances would be held at the Cebu City Sports Center. Kung si Tomas Osmeña pay mayor, ambot lang. Moingon siguro to “Adto mo sa Balamban pag-pasigarbo.”
It used to be held at the Mandaue City reclamation area and had its finale at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC). But the CICC was abandoned by Davide after it suffered damage due to the 2013 magnitude 7.2 earthquake.
It is an ala-Sinulog activity in which contingents perform in the streets and the finale, which organizers termed as “showdown,” is held at the Cebu City Sports Complex grandstand. It started at around 2 p.m. from the Capitol passing through Osmeña Blvd. and wound up at the sports complex at around 3 a.m. There were 44 participating contingents.
As early as Monday morning, even before I woke up at 5 a.m. for my early morning radio program, I received text messages and personal messages through my Facebook account complaining about the holding of the Pasigarbo.
I believe some of the complaints came from concerned parents of the students who participated in the activity.
They were concerned with the students’ health, considering that they were exposed to the heat of the sun during the street-dancing and it ended up at around 3 a.m., which is already very cold. Did the dancers still have energy to perform in the wee hours of the morning, they asked?
Dancers lacked sleep even before the actual presentation because of constant and rigid practice and they were not well accommodated.
They were only housed in various school buildings that were not suitable and comfortable as sleeping quarters.
Some of them lacked food because the delegations were not allowed to cook their own food by school building administrators. They bought food at fast food chains and carenderia.
I think this is one loophole that the organizers and Gov. Garcia overlooked. They should take this into consideration in the next year’s celebration. We cannot compromise the health and physical well-being of the students just because we want to enjoy.
What if some of those who participated got sick? Can the parents of the students ask assistance from their LGU or from the Capitol for their medicines and hospital needs? It was not Pasigarbo sa Sugbo. It was Pasigarbo sa “pasmo” (starve, hunger). Maluoy intawon mo sa mga bata (Have pity on the children).
Let me be clear on this. I am not against the holding of this activity. In fact, I am supporting this. But I am appealing to the organizers to consider the health of the participating students. Here are my suggestions:
There were 44 participating contingents last Sunday. If each contingent was allowed to present for 10 minutes in the final showdown, only six contingents could be accommodated in an hour. You multiply that 10 minutes to 44 groups.
Why not limit the participating contingents? Why won’t the organizers hold preliminaries? Let us say, per district or cluster the province into south, north and mid-north areas and the top three, for example, in the preliminary will be the ones to compete in the finals.
The organizers said the showdown should be held at night because the spotlights and background lights will add color to the presentation. Okay, why not cancel the street dancing and proceed directly to the showdown portion? They can hold it the whole night. This is what we lack in Cebu. A big and closed venue for events like this.