In case anyone did not get the memo, the annual GenSan Kalilangan festival was actually on for this year. After the rise of COVID cancelled things in 2020, the city will not be denied this 2021. Of course, as the pandemic is not yet over, much of the events comprising Kalilangan 2021 will be done digitally, with the spectacle streaming for all to see online. Much like previous years, the celebration period is a week long, and it actually kicked off this past Monday. With any big festivals it starts with an official opening ceremony, streamed for the convenience of Generals and any virtual visitors.
The official Facebook pages of LGU-GenSan and the GenSan CEMCDO both carry video streams of the major events of Kalilangan 2021, and that includes the opening ceremony. The virtual nature of the celebration made the intro of this year’s festival a collection of video vignettes, totaling nearly one hour long. Following an introduction in Blaan and an invocation in both Islamic and Christian faiths, what followed was a special music video of the Philippine national anthem, but set in GenSan, chronicling its past history and showcasing its magnificent progress today: culture, scenic sites and industry.
Various local and national officials, such as Vice Mayor Loreto Acharon, South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, and even Philippine Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, all gave video addresses regarding Kalilangan and its perseverance at being held, in one form or other, this year in the face of the pandemic. Cultural presentations such as by the Young Blaan of Tambler and the Bahandian Folklore Ensemble were recorded in locations such as the Plaza Heneral Santos. Appropriately, Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera would cap off the messages with his closing remarks on the virtual Kalilangan opening ceremony. Intercut between each segment is footage from notable cultural presentations from various past Kalilangan festivals.
While the virtual opening ceremony for the overall festival was streaming this past Monday, February 22, a real-world event also took place at the Veranza Mall activity center, with the opening of the Kalilangan 2021 Trade Fair and Exhibit, featuring local micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), 22 in all from across the city with their various products and services. The Committee of Tourism Culture and Arts Chair, City Councilor Shandee Llido-Pestaño, was on hand representing Mayor Rivera for the launch ceremony and ribbon cutting.
Tune into the LGU-GenSan and CEMCDO-GenSan on Facebook for more video streams this week for the digital Kalilangan 2021 celebrations.
Image: LGU-GenSan Facebook page