The annual spectacle that is Saulog Tagbilaran blasted off on Friday, March 16, the 453rd anniversary of the Sandugo (blood compact) between Bohol’s Datu Sikatuna and Spain’s Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, in a dazzling show of talents, beauty,and legacy that will bring pride to Tagbilaranons.
Saulog, the flagship festival of the city, set the tone for pomp and pageantry for the next weeks or so leading to the celebration of the city’s fiesta on May 1.
The colorful showcase of talent and beauty of Tagbilaran youth was on captivating display in a splendid show akin to a televised variety show.
Capping the night was an elaborate, five-minute fireworks display amid the performance of fire dancers, fire eaters and fire blowers all aligned to the tune of the Saulog Tagbilaran theme.
Adding to the delight of the crowd was the impressive amphitheater of Tagbilaran City Friendship Park, the venue of the launch of Saulog Tagbilaran festivities.
Key officials of the tourism industry in the region and the nation graced the occasion proving the mettle of the city as a tourism hub.
The presence of Pocholo Joselito Paragas, the chief operating officer of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) during the launch of the P58-million Tagbilaran Friendship Park, was special.
It is Tieza’s funding that realized the development of the idle land at the back of the Blood Compact Shrine to what is shaping to be one of the gems in Tagbilaran tourism moving forward.
Currently, the project’s first phase has been completed, and it is expected the second phase will be completed in time for the city’s fiesta celebration in May.
When completed, the park will feature not just the impressive Greco-Roman inspired amphitheater, but other amenities as well.
Other amenities include an audio-visual room, the placement of the bronze statue depicting the Blood Compact between Rajah Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a botanical park and stilt-supported structures leading to a mangrove forest. The park will also host some souvenir and coffee shops.
The park is a realization of the concept first hatched during the time of former TagbilaranCity Mayor Jose Torralba.
IMPORTANCE OF TAGBILARAN IN THE TOURISM SCHEME
Paragas and Department of Tourism Regional Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano both impressed the importance of Tagbilaran in the scheme of things in the local tourism industry.
“The tourism here in Bohol can offer a distinct experience to both local and foreign tourists, with history and culture working together,” Paragas said.
Paragas lauded the city by having “a tourism plan.”
He said “all the resources are here and it is by the five pillars of TIEZA. This is the asset of Tagbilaran City!”
“You have these wonderful performers and wonderful projects lined up for both Bohol and Tagbilaran City; really, good things happen to good people,” Tamano said.
For his part, Gov. Edgar Chatto also congratulated Tagbilaran, saying he that was looking forward to more proactive engagements with the City.
City Mayor John Geesnell “Baba” Yap II thanked Tieza and the DOT for helping in the transformation of the idle lot to become a splendid magnet for tourists moving forward.
“With this development, we are expecting the influx of domestic and foreign tourists. It is also the fulfillment of our vision to strengthen our position as a major tourist destination in this part of the country,”Yap said.
Audiences were treated to an excerpt of Tagbila-an, the musical reliving the origin story of the city.
The presentation was splendid after the students from Dr. Cecilio Putong National High School, Special Program of the Arts (DCPNHS) conquered the stage with confidence and dynamism.
The meaningful songs coupled with the graceful movements of the performers were indeed a delight.
Another wonderful revelation was the Tagbilaran City Children’s Choir, with Enriqueta Butalid at the helm.
The angelic voices of the kids gave so much promise and inspiration.
In a fitting culmination of the night’s show, the candidates for Mutya ng Tagbilaran were presented for the first time to the public.
Each candidate made a concerted effort to wow the crowd with a brief history of their respective barangays.
The candidates are: Queen Gillie Maglahus, Bool; Dann Audrey Cadenas, Booy; Carl Joellie Tentativa, Cabawan; Kate Gabriel Alemania, Cogon; Marian Grace Malubay, Dampas; Beverly Malig-on, Dao; Lady Aira Lumantas, Manga; Moira Lee Ampo, Mansasa; Cindy Lopez, Poblacion 1; Margarett Requillo, Poblacion 2; Karen Claire Tupos, Poblacion 1; Raclaire Stephan Trigo, San Isidro; Van Yrralee Pusta, Taloto; Lucelyn Jotojo, Tiptip; and Rueggy Mae Namoc, Ubujan.
The city has lined up several activities leading to the May 1 festivities as part of the Saulog Tagbilaran.
On March 16 was the launching of the Saulog Tagbilaran activities and inauguration and blessing of the Tagbilaran Friendship Park.
Yesterday was the opening ceremonies of the Saulog Tagbilaran 2018 Sports Fest.
On March 24, get your wetsuits for the SaulogTagbilaran 2018 Dragon Boat Competition at the Knights of Columbus Promenade, Poblacion 2.
From April 1 to May 31, get your fit for various products with Tabosa Tagbilaran at the Tagbilaran City Hall Grounds along JA Clarin Street.
April 6 and seven will be the days for the Saulog Martial Arts and Fitness Festival at the BQ Mall Atrium.
On April 20, the beauties of Tagbilaran will showcase their talents in the MutyasaTagbilaran Talent Competition at the Bohol Cultural Center.
From April 21 to 29, the City Hall Grounds will host the Kumbira sa Tagbilaran.
April 22 to May 2, are the days for the Saulog Tagbilaran Visual Arts Exhibit at the Island City Mall Activity Center.
From April 22 to 30 will be the days devoted to the nine-day Novena mass in honor of St. Joseph the Worker at the Cathedral. At the same time, it will be the days for the nightly entertainment at the Tagbilaran City Square Grounds.
On April 24, feast your eyes with Saulog Festival 2018 King and Queen Competition.
The much-awaited pageant and coronation night of Mutya sa Tagbilaran will be held on April 27 at the Bohol Wisdom Gymnasium.
April 28 is the date for the Saulog Amity Street Party, and the Saulog Color Run will be held on April 29.
Also on April 29, the St Joseph Fluvial Procession will be held together with Globe Night.
Next day, it will be San Mig Night and another street party.
On May 1, it will be the fiesta celebrations highlighted by the street dancing competition for Saulog Tagbilaran 2018. By night time, the Smart Saulog Night will be held.
To cap the festivities, the Saulog Tagbilaran 2018 Photo Exhibit and Awarding Ceremonies will be held on May 6, 2018. (Dave Albarado with reports from the City Media Bureau)