TACLOBAN CITY—It’s all systems go for the month-long Sangyaw Festival of Lights that kicked off June 9 here, including safety and security procedures, city officials said Tuesday.
Tacloban Mayor Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez, with the Tacloban City Police Office led by City Director Rolando Bade and the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, assured the public that security measures are in place around the city following the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Bade said police have set up check points and organized intelligence monitoring and foot patrols around the city, and will deploy more than 500 policemen on June 29 during the Sangyaw Parade of Lights.
“We just need to be vigilant, but the celebrations will not be affected,” the mayor said.
The festival features a motorcade, the inauguration of the Sangyawan Park at the Balyuan Grounds, a Job and Business Fair, Battle of the Bands, the Balyuan Rites, a golf tournament, a national jet ski competition, the Miss Tacloban Coronation Night, Mr. Sangyaw Tacloban, Sangyaw Foundation Ball, Waray Talents Concert, Fiesta Trade Fair, fluvial and land processions, and a pontifical mass.
The highlight of the 128th Tacloban Fiesta is the Sangyaw Parade of Lights on June 29, which features decorated floats bright with LED (light emitting diodes) lights and street dancers partying to the upbeat “Sangyaw Theme.”
“In Waray-Waray, Sangyaw means to announce or herald. This Sangyaw Festival is Tacloban’s way of announcing or heralding to the whole country that we are here, strong and proud, and united towards progress. This year’s theme is ‘Unity for Progress’,” said Romualdez.
The Waray Talents Concert will be held at the Tacloban City Convention Center on June 27 and 28, and the Fiesta Trade Fair at Plaza Rizal will be on June 28. The traditional Fluvial and Land Processions, and Pontifical Mass will be held on Fiesta Day, June 30.
City Administrator lawyer Irene Chiu said that this year’s Parade of Lights will have an “Open Category” for the first time.
“Because our theme is ‘Unity for Progress,’ we invited other local government units to showcase their own floats and festivals,” she said.
Former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos started the Sangyaw Festival in the 1970’s every June 29. Imelda’s nephew, former Tacloban Mayor Alfred S. Romualdez revived the festival in 2008 when Tacloban was converted into a Highly Urbanized City.