TO help sustain the influx of local tourists to Cebu right after Sinulog, Councilor Gerry Carillo said they are proposing a number of barangay festivals for the city government to hold.

Carillo, who was tasked to oversee the social and livelihood services programs of the city, said they will be turning barangay fiestas into festivals and encourage more barangays to participate for the whole year.

“These festivals are already existing. What we want is to enhance them and make it more attractive so we could continue to invite more tourists to visit Cebu,” said Carillo.

About eight city festivals are in being finalized. Of these, the Buwad Festival happening this month until May 10 in San Nicolas District is the first to be finalized and is ready for implementation. The Buwad festival covers San Nicolas, Pahina, Sawang, Pasil, Suba and Calamba.

Carillo said they will also seek approval for the implementation of Summer Festival which will include activities like biking, flying kite, car racing and Sta. Cruzan in Labangon next month.

In June, the team is proposing to mount a bigger Tartanilla Kabayo Festival, with Mambaling and Dulho as the lead organizers. Basak and San Nicolas, on the other hand, will hold Sundang/Bolo Festival a month after.

The team also expects bigger crowd to join the Puso Festival in Inayawan this August. Puso, or the hanging rice, is a food product popular in Cebu. In September, Brgys. Subangdako, Kalunasan, and Guadalupe will come together to mount the Mango Festival.

Nine mountain barangays - Bonbon, Babag, Busay, Buol, Sinsin, Sudlon 1&2, Sibugay and Tabunon - will converge for the Mountain and Flower Festival in October.

Brgy. Calamba, on the other hand, will lead the Kandila Festival in November.

Kasadya sa SRP and Festival for the City (Cebu City Charter Day) is scheduled in December to February.

Carillo believes celebrating festivals in barangays will not only increase tourism arrivals but will also open enterprise opportunities as participating barangays will get to showcase their own products.

“This year round festivals will give Filipinos and even foreign tourists more reasons to come back to Cebu,” he said.

The councilor said festivals also have major impact on the development of cultural tourism to the host communities.

“Festivals are an excellent marketing tool. One of the objectives here is to make people come back to Cebu right after Sinulog. Cebu isn’t just about Sinulog we also celebrate other festivals which we hope locals and foreign tourists would take a look at and experience,” said Manny Ongkiko, an event organizer.

There are 2.41 million domestic tourists that visited Central Visayas last year out of the 4.03 million total tourism arrivals. Cebu is the region’s major tourism drawer accounting more than 84 percent.