IT SEEMED like the entire populace of General Santos City was out in the streets last February 27. It was the last day of the Kalilangan Festival 2010, and the day when dance contingents brought their best to the streets of General Santos City.

The contingents were divided into two categories: the Kadsagayan Competition and the Mindanao Festivals Competition. The contingents from within General Santos City competed in the Kadsagayan Competition.

Meanwhile, groups representing the various festivals in Mindanao competed in the Mindanao Festivals Competition.

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Each contingent presented not just a dance but a story representing the best of their rich history, arts, and culture through music and dance.

Competing in the Kadsagayan Competition were Barangay Bula, Buayan High School, SPED High School, Trade School, and Datu Acad Elementary School.

And representing their festivals were contingents from Malapatan, Bagumbayan, Tampakan, Sultan Kudarat Pendatun 1, General Santos City, Sarmiento, and Sultan Kudarat Pendatun 2. Together with their own Festival Queens, the contingents from other parts showcased their best music and dance on the streets of General Santos City.

It was a very overwhelming experience for me who witnessed the affair for the first time. Despite the piercing heat, the stress, and the pressure of the tight competition, all the contingents presented their best to the spectators. Each dancer gave their best smile while performing complex dance routines and fancy footwork complemented by the use of various props.

And their costumes were great representations of the colorful and diverse cultures of the peoples of Mindanao. Coupled with rousing music performed with much gusto by the contingents? musicians, it was really a sight to behold which tickled all the senses.

Overwhelming! There is no other word that could better describe what the participants showed.

After the street dancing, the contingents proceeded to the City Oval where they waited for their turn on the center stage. If I was overwhelmed by the street dancing, the showdown at the oval overwhelmed me even more. Amazing!

The choreography, the discipline of the performers, the costumes and props, the stories and histories presented were all good. It must have been a very tough time for the judges.

At the end of the night, however, with fireworks in the sky, only six contingents were declared as the winners of the tight competition.

For the Kadsagayan Competition, it was SPED High School contingent who took home the Championship trophy and prizes. Taking Second Place was Trade School and taking Third Place was Datu Acad Elementary School.

In the Mindanao Festivals Competition, it was the SPED Elementary School that took home the Championship. The Municipality of Malapatan and Bagumbayan took the Second and Third Place prizes, respectively.

It was indeed a great way to end the colorful and meaningful Kalilangan Festival of General Santos City. It was a great week of celebration, living up to the theme: Honoring the Past, Celebrating the Present, and Embracing the Future.

General Santos City indeed owes a lot to its pioneers led by General Paulino Santos and to its rich heritage and history. Through the Kalilangan Festival, the bounties of the city, its products and its gracious people celebrate the best of their city, looking forward to better years ahead.

Much praise must be showered to Mayor Jun Acharon, his first lady, Dr. Rose Acharon, the city officials, the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce led by Ms. Pilar Afuang, and the Kalilangan Festival Committee led by Director Orman Manansala. Congratulations to General Santos City on the success of its Kalilangan Festival 2010!