The City of Calapan, the bustling provincial capital of Oriental Mindoro, marked an important milestone as it celebrated its 20th cityhood anniversary and Kalap Festival from March 2 to 21.
With the theme “20 Taon ng Lungsod: Kaunlaran, Kalinga at Malasakit para sa Lahat,” the three-week observance will highlight the economic gains the city has achieved over the past two decades.
According to Mayor Arnan Panaligan, Calapan has experienced significant improvements in commerce and industry, infrastructure, social services and governance since attaining cityhood.
Calapan was converted into a component city on March 21, 1998 when the townsfolk ratified Republic Act No. 8475 authored in Congress by Rep. Renato Leviste and signed by President Fidel Ramos. To date, it is the first and only city in the two Mindoro provinces.
Last year, it bagged third place in the eGov Awardee for Excellence in Information and Communications Technology for Local Government Units, competing with much bigger and richer highly-urbanized cities.
Its ranking in the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index of the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines rose significantly in 2016-2017, earning it the recognition of being one of the Three Most Improved Cities in Competitiveness.
It was also named Number 2 Most Competitive Component City in Resilience for its outstanding programs in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
Panaligan said that Calapan’s high competitiveness ranking validates the city’s rapid growth, vibrant economy, and best practices in local governance.
He noted that the city also envisions to be the premier center of investments and agro-industry in the Mimaropa Region.
In 2014, Calapan was elevated to the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Hall of Fame for being the country’s most business-friendly city three times.
Earlier in 2010, it was reclassified into a second-class city due to its innovations in public service, modernization programs, increased revenue collection, and overall economic performance.
A highlight of the festivities is the Kalap Festival street dance parade on March 20 which portrays the City’s historic events, the achievements of Calapeños, and how the people excelled despite their trials.
Celebrations draw culminate on March 21 with the Araw ng Lungsod Grand Parade, the 2018 Natatanging Calapeño Award Gala Night, and the Kalap Fest Street Party series featuring TM Repablikan.
Tourism is a growing industry with the opening of inland resorts and new hotels, which will cater to visitors doing business and visiting natural attractions such as Caluangan Lake, Baco and Silonay Islets, Bulusan Nature Park and Cave, and the Silonay Mangrove Conservation Area and Ecotourism.
The capital of the undivided Mindoro province since 1836, Calapan is a vital tourism road link to the Strong Republic Nautical Highway which cuts through Visayas and Mindanao.