ANGELES CITY- This year's Tigtigan Terakan Keng Dalan (TTKD) is expected to once again break existing records of attendance where an estimated crowd of more than 75,000 party-goers lined up the one-kilometer stretch of MacArthur Highway over the weekend to be a part of an event dubbed as the biggest street party in the whole country.

During the opening salvo, Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, who heads the organizing committee of the annual street party, addressed the crowd on the importance and relevance of the TTKD to the city.

“I remember our city being a total ghost town in 1991. I can still vividly reminisce how our hopes and aspirations crashed during that fateful day- bridges were toppled down by the rampaging lahar, establishments were closed and almost half of the city was buried in ashes. It’s an eerie scene of devastation that is more than what is seen in movies,” said Pamintuan.

“Someone had to stand up and shine that light of hope to uplift the dampened spirit of our people. This prompted me to stage the first TTKD in 1992 which we are celebrating until now. It is not an ordinary street party, it’s our commemoration of triumph over the Mt. Pinatubo tragedy,” the mayor recalled.

Festival co-chairman Wing Pingol of JCI Angeles Culiat said that “it is always a challenge to surpass the record of previous TTKDs”.

“Aside from the usual live bands, events booths and celebrity concerts, we introduced a new take on staging the TTKD this year by infusing arts and culture in our line-up of activities,” said Pingol who is also the Executive Director of the Culture and Arts Council of Angeles City.

The two-day merriment kicked off with a street dancing from the north and south sectors of the event venue. The activity that hyped up the first day of the event was participated in by students from the different schools in the city.

Twenty-five lasses from the different villages and educational institutions in the city were also fittingly introduced as official candidates of the Mutya ning Angeles 2017, which is also celebrating its 25th year.

A powerful and dramatic dance interpretation of “Angeles Kung Pakamalan”, a song narrating the Angeleños’ struggles and victory, was rendered by the Sinukwan Kapampangan Center for the Arts.

Former Angeles City chief-of-staff now Clark International Airport Corporation Alexander Cauguiran said that “it is important to engage the youth for them to have a deeper understanding on what the essence of the TTKD is.”

“TTKD is more than just singing, dancing and drinking for we resonate the Angeleño spirit of unity and resilience to the rest of the world,” said Cauguiran, who is also considered one of the pillars of the yearly festival.

Meanwhile, a traditional ceremonial toast led by Mayor Pamintuan and a grand fireworks display opened the jam-packed first day of the street party.

Afterwards, Pamintuan and the rest of the TTKD executive committee paraded the stretch of the Mon Tang Avenue in Balibago to open Pampanga’s Best Food Expo (PamFex) 2017.

The exposition, which highlighted the best Kapampangan culinary and international cookery, was opened through a Giant Tocino boodle fight. A replica of the Angeles Traditional Parul was also unveiled in the said food expo.

Booths, beer and food stalls as well as people dancing on the streets covered the whole stretch of the venue.

To assure the safety of the locals and tourists, Angeles City Police Office (ACPO) director Enrico Vargas said that more than 300 police personnel were deployed in the event.

He also said that additional security forces were also arrayed by personnel from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Philippine Air Force, Army Reserve, Angeles City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Bureau of Fire Protection, barangay peace and order action teams and volunteer civilian security units to augment the safety needs of the attendees.

Traffic enforcers from the Angeles City Traffic Development Office were also positioned in different points surrounding the event venue to manage and ease the flow of traffic.

The TTKD is the culmination of Angeles City’s month-long Fiestang Kuliat celebration. The staging of the 25th edition of the TTKD was made possible in partnership with JCI Angeles Culiat, San Miguel Brewery Corporation, Pampanga's Best and Converge ICT Solutions. (PR)