A CULTURAL award giving body in South Korea has chosen Cebu City’s Sinulog Festival as the recipient of the 6th Korea Festival Contents Grand Prix Asia Popularity Award.

Since 2013, the Korea Festival Contents Association has selected each year the most outstanding festivals in South Korea to develop their local economy.

A separate recognition, the Asia Popularity Festival Award, is designed to select the most successful festivals in the continent to promote its prestige and grandeur.

Past awardees include Japan’s Aomori Nebata Festival and Hakata Gion Yamakasa Festival; Zhigong Lantern Festival of China; and Naadam Festival of Mongolia.

For this year, Sinulog has been selected as the most popular festival in Asia.

A letter of invitation dated Feb. 7 was received by the Office of Mayor Tomas Osmeña from Cha Jung Hyun, president of the organizing committee.

“I hope that you can promote your proud festival to Korea and the world through our award,” reads a portion of the letter.

The mayor and his wife Councilor Margarita Osmeña flew to South Korea yesterday morning to receive the award on behalf of the City Government. The awarding ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. today in Seoul.

WATCH: Replay of Sinulog Grand Parade 2018

More inviting

In an interview yesterday, Assistant City Administrator Annabeth Cuizon said the recognition will serve as a challenge for the City to continuously surpass the standards it sets yearly during the Sinulog grand parade.

“We have to come up with something that is new that we can be proud of. We have to come up with another concept that would be more inviting and attractive to our tourists both local and foreign,” she said.

In a separate interview, Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director Ricky Ballesteros said the people of South Korea had always enjoyed the Sinulog.

Last year, Sinulog Festival dance competition veteran Tribu Lumad Basakanon gained international recognition after it won third place out of 200 teams in the World Wonju Dynamic Dance Festival in Wonju, South Korea.

Barangay San Nicolas was the only contingent to compete from the Philippines and was the only foreign delegation to land a spot in the top 3, which was dominated by representatives of the host country.

The Sinulog was also chosen as the “Best Festival In the Philippines” during the 1st Choose Philippines Award in 2016.

“It speaks for Cebu as a tourist destination. The recognition is not only for Cebu, but the whole Philippines,” Ballesteros said. (RTF)