Tagbilaran City on Sunday night was named grand champion in Bohol’s first belen-making competition during the maiden edition of the provincial government’s “Pasko! Kasadya sa Bohol,” which is being eyed to be established as an annual event.
The local government unit (LGU) of Tagbilaran City took home a P350,000 cash reward while 1st runner-up Antequera and 2ndrunner-up Loboc were given P250,000 and P150,000, respectively, during ceremonies held at the CPG Park in Tagbilaran.
The belen contest which marked the closing of the 40-day Kasadya Christmas festival was attended by Governor Arthur Yap and guest of honor Mexican ambassador Gerardo Lozano Arredondo and his wife Mariza Arciniega.
The Lozanos and attendees from various sectors were treated to performances from local artists including the Loboc Ambassadors Band, the Loboc dayegon contingent which earlier bagged the grand prize of the Kasadya Deyegon Contest and Sing Philippines Youth Choir, among others.
Lozano felt the similarities between the traditions of the Philippines and Mexico through the dance and singing performances by local artists during the event, said Yap, noting that it did not come as a surprise considering the two nations’ longstanding ties.
Yap was referring to the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade which was the centerpiece of Philippine-Mexican relations and spanned for 250 years starting in 1565.
“I was more than happy when his Excellency was whispering to me na nahinumduman niya ang Mexico pinaagi sa atong mga costumes and Mrs. Lozano also said that the music is just original pueblo music in Mexico,” he said.
The governor also thanked the Mexican government for sending five belen installations which were set up at the lobby of the Capitol.
According to Yap, the Christmas festival, on top of promoting local culture to draw tourists, was intended to remind the Boholanos of the province’s traditions, which he hopes would guide them particularly the youth amid changing times spurred by rapid technological advancements.
“It helps tourism. It helps us introduce ourselves to the world, but more than anything else it is to provide a north star, a compass so that we will not be lost,” said Yap.
Kasadya! Pasko sa Bohol was launched on November 5 mainly featuring a 40-day Christmas bazaar opened as an avenue for local entrepreneurs to display their wares and for the province to promote local cuisine, culture and tradition.
The night market displayed and sold local dishes, farm produce, processed food, arts, handicrafts, plants and ornamental items.
Kasadya also featured a Dayegon Contest which was won by the contingent from Loboc, deemed as Bohol’s music town.