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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jun 30, 2012

Tacloban'S Sangyaw Eclipses Sinulog, Dinagyang, Ati-Atiahan & Panagbenga Festivals

WE HAD FUN at Tacloban City’s fabulous Sangyaw Festival last Friday. It definitely now eclipses other parades and dance festivals in the country like Sinulog, Dinagyang, Ati-Atihan and even Panagbenga. Mayor Alfred Romualdez and wife Cristina “Kring Kring” Gonzales, who’s also the Tourism Council Chair and Sangyaw 2012 Execom Co-chair, made sure it’ll be a spectacular affair this time and judging from the huge crowd of people who turned for the affair (the streets really became a sea of people), no doubt it’s a great success, reminiscent of similar parades with dancing in Rio and Vegas.

“We want to offer something different from what the usual festival offers kasi pare-pareho na,” she says. “This time, we made it a Parade of Lights. All the floats are using luminous LED lights. We got Gogoy Avelino as project director. He handles the same kind of parade in Cubao at Christmas.”

“But Cubao is on a smaller scale,” says Gogoy, who’s an uncle of actor Paulo Avelino. “This one is much bigger as we have no less than 20 floats. I even brought about a dozen of my own people from Manila to work on the floats.”

The parade is truly a visual treat. The first one is a galleon with the huge image of the Sto. Nino as the centerpiece to signify the coming of Christianity in our shores. The floats are environment oriented so we have floats of a giant turtle, dolphins, angel fish, swan, caterpillar, flowers, bee and ladybug, apples, the whale shark or butanding, but the best is that of the butterflies and mushrooms. They also have floats of the San Juanico Bridge, a World War II tank, Chinese pagoda and artifacts, a train, an airplane, a special float for the winning Miss Tacloban and her runners up, and another float with Congressman Martin Romualdez, Mayor Alfred and wife Cristina with their two daughters, Sofia and Diana. Each float is followed by a contingency of dancers in marvellous colorful costumes, the best ones being the Chinese dancers in resplendent red, those in rooster costumes, and the Spanish dancers with beautiful ternos. Even the music has been changed. Instead of the usual brass “hala bira” accompaniment, they now use music with a Latin beat you can hear from huge loud speakers that lined up the parade’s route.

Before, there were two parades held: the Sangyaw from Tacloban City itself and the Pintados from the entire Leyte province. This time, the Pintados no longer held their own parade and it’s good because theirs will surely pale in comparison to the way the Sangyaw was held this year.

The Taclobanons really have so much to be thankful for to Alfred and wife Kring Kring who made the city so progressive during their two terms as mayor and councilor. The mayor said they have 1,100 plus new businesses being put up each year. The huge Robinson’s Mall in Palo (near where the historic MacArthur Landing memorial is located) is such a big hit that it’s been extended and now also has GO hotels, where our group of press people stayed. It’s truly the perfect gateway to Eastern Visayas as it has so much to offer, from educational institutions like UP Tacloban, Eastern Visayas State U and Leyte Normal U to beautiful islands and a huge Astrodome where local and foreign artists perform. Kring Kring has put up her own events place by the beach, Patio Victoria (the counterpart of her similar place in Intramuros.)

So is it true she’s running for governor in 2013? “No, I still have one term as councilor and also Alfred, so tatapusin muna namin ang three terms namin. It’s our cousin Phillip Romualdez who’ll run as governor dahil kilala na siya sa buong Leyte.”

Will she want to try a showbiz comeback since she remains as gorgeous as ever? “GMA offered me a nightly soap. Kaya lang I can’t do yung magdamagang taping since I stay most of the time in Tacloban. Marami kong work dito and I also have my two daughters to attend to.”

She has very pretty daughters. “May kumukuha na nga mag-showbiz kasi 13 na yung eldest ko. But I said magtapos na muna ng college. Kasi pag nag-artista, baka ayaw na mag-aral at maligawan pa, wag na lang.”