It may no longer have a connection with the cityhood charter anniversary (which itself had been moved a few months earlier), but the GenSan Tuna Festival has long emerged with its own singular character out of all General Santos City’s important annual events. Walking around the streets of GenSan this final week of August would plainly show the preparations, the facilities and the corporate sponsorship signage in place. Generals and tourists from out of town are all waiting to see just what new flavors can be experienced as promised in the 2019 Tuna Fest slogan. Well, the celebration formally starts this Friday, and we have the schedule for your perusal.
While pre-festival events such as the flea market, the fairgrounds, and the concert venue have been on since the week prior to this, the official start of the 2019 GenSan Tuna Festival is today, August 30, with the traditional Tuna Float Parade, called “Layag,” due to start this 1 PM. Its point of origin is, again, Veranza Mall, making its way along part of J. Catolico Sr. Ave., turning into San Miguel St. alongside SM City GenSan, then turning into Santiago Blvd., Acharon Blvd., and Pioneer Ave. in that order, ultimately going along Roxas East Ave and into Oval Plaza.
You must have noticed that the Tuna Float Parade got a name, “Layag.” The grand opening ceremony at 7 in the evening has one too, “Sagwan.” Having personalized names for every important event of the Tuna Fest period adds a nice touch to the proceedings. Take for instance the dragon boat festival at Queen Tuna Park this Saturday, August 31; it is known as the “Lumba Bugsay” and it is a change of pace from the Bangkarera of previous festivals. The Tuna Fest also brings the rest of the nation closer to GenSan, if the fact that ABS-CBN and GMA7 are holding a Kapamilya Caravan (31) and Kapuso Mall Show (September 1) just days apart at the KCC Events Center.
Even the city’s malls are getting into a generous festive mood. From September 1 to 5, KCC Mall and G-Mall of GenSan are having their special Tuna Fest Sales. SM City GenSan will hold one too, but theirs will go on until the 8th. There will be art exhibits, a caravan of modern PUV models, the Tuna Skills Olympics for Schools (a classic portion of Tuna Fest that never gets old), and the Mr. & Ms. Tourism pageant, September 3.
Insider tidbits from Tuna Festival director Rofil Mae Rillo puts the week-long event’s budget at P4 million, and it definitely shows in the decorations, renovations, and jam-packed schedule they have cooked up for all comers. The general theme for the aesthetics of this Tuna Fest is “Atlantis,” which does explain why the Tuna logo is holding DC superhero Aquaman’s trident. It also influences the hash-tag slogan to #ProtectTheSea, seeing as it is the primary habitat of the natural resource that gives GenSan its nickname. Fittingly, this year’s National Tuna Congress will be happening at the closing days of the festival.
As of this article’s publication, the Layag Tuna Float Parade ought to be underway along the streets of GenSan, so we are calling all Generals to come out and join the fun. It is a whole week of new experiences for everybody to partake in. Make sure not to miss the 2019 GenSan Tuna Festival, August 30 to September 5. Catch the event live stream at their official Facebook page.
Image: Gensan Tuna Festival Facebook