Amyek Maleh 2013: Mt Matutum Climb

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“You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.”

–  Lito Tejada-Flores

Yes. I know I’ve been there before during my high school years because of a scouting encampment.

But after almost 10 years, I found myself again about to set on a journey to a mountain that they say had one of the most challenging trails in the Philippines (even MORE DIFFICULT than Mt Pulag and even Mt Apo) – none other than the MT. MATUTUM.

About Mt Matutum

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Rising to 2293 meters (7522 feet) above sea level, Mount Matutum prominently resides at the southern end of The Philippines southernmost province of Mindanao. Although only 70 km SSW of the country’s highest peak Mount Apo, this isolated dormant volcano dominates the landscape from all 360 degrees.

Thanks to the Amyek Maleh 2013 celebration I was given another opportunity to have my body endure another adventure to conquer this known landmark in South Cotabato.

What is Amyak Maleh?

The name Mount Matutum is derived from the local Blaa’n tongue “Amyak Maleh” meaning climb and plant. Indeed, all trekkers are required to plant a tree while visiting the Mountain.

The Mountain and its surrounding landscape are protected through a Presidential Proclamation issued March 25, 1995 by President Fidel Ramos.

Amyak Maleh is being conducted each year as one of the events that formed part of the weeklong celebration of the declaration of Mt. Matutum as “protected landscape”, or the Linggo ng Mt. Matutum.

Amyak Maleh 2013

Hundreds of mountaineers coming from all over Mindanao flock to the municipality of Tupi, South Cotabato to join this year’s Amyak Maleh.

March 22, 2013 – the day started early with the registration of the participants.

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After which, a brief orientation had been given and all mountaineers are transported to the jump off point in Glandan, Brgy, Kablon, Tupi, South Cotabato.

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Amyak Maleh Itinerary

Here’s the detailed itinerary for the climb.

Day 1 (March 22, 2013)

4:00 AM Wake up
6:00 AM Registration, Orientation and take service to Sitio Glandang
8:00 AM ETA Glandang
8:00-9:30AM Tree Planting
9:30 AM Start assault to Phase I
12:00 NN ETA Phase I
1:00 PM Ascent to Summit
4:00 PM ETA Mt. Matutum Summit and start pitch tent and sightseeing / picture taking
6:00 PM Dinner and Inato Social
11:00 PM Lights off

Day 2 (March 23, 2013)

5:00 AM Wake up
7:00 AM Breakfast / Sightseeing/ picture taking
8:30 AM break the camp and descent preparation
9:00 AM start descent to Phase I
12:00 NN ETA Phase I (Lunch)
1:00 PM descent to Sitio Glandang
4:00 PM ETA Sitio Glandang
4:00 PM Take service to Municipal Hall
6:00 PM Mountaineers Night (Free Dinner)

Registration Fee: 300.00
Inclusive: Souvenir T-shirt, Certificate, I.D., 1 Meal during Socials and Transportation from Mun. Hall to Sitio Glandang

Amyak Maleh Tree Planting

The climb started with a tree planting activity on the foot of Mt Matutum in Glandang.

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“My heart is glad, my heart is high
With sudden ecstasy;
I have given back, before I die,
Some thanks for every lovely tree
That dead men grew for me.”
V.H. Friedlaender

plan a tree

The Journey to Mt Matutum

After the tree planting, it is now time to start the battle.

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The climb almost lasted for 6 hours, 3 hours towards Phase 1 and another 3 hours to the Summit.

Your first stop will be in this marker, here you will get to refill your bottles for water from a free flowing spring. The next water source will still be at the peak

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matutum water source

6 long hours of dodging from twigs, ducking low, crawling in between trees, holding branches tight, and sometimes slipping on slippery rocks. We even met a cobra along the way! Yikes!

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The trail, especially after Phase 1 was REALLY STEEP.

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There are even moments when you are in the middle of your trek, when you get to stop, pause, and ask yourself,

“Why ? Why, why, why do I do this ???

Arrival at Phase 1

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Arrival at Phase 1

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But as they say ‘That which does not kill you will make you stronger.’ Hopefully this will. Haha!

And yes, I am a living witness to the statement that

the trail to Mt Matutum is indeed MORE DIFFICULT THAN MT. APO or MT PULAG

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“To put yourself into a situation where a mistake cannot necessarily be recouped, where the life you lose may be your own, clears the head wonderfully. It puts domestic problems back into proportion and adds an element of seriousness to your drab, routine life. Perhaps this is one reason why climbing has become increasingly hard as society has become increasingly, disproportionately, coddling.”
–  A. Alvarez,  The Games Climbers Play.

Arrival at the Summit

But as they say, once you get to the peak, it’s all worth it!

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Afternoon clouds that met us upon arrival

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“The bizarre trend in mountaineers is not the risk they take, but the large degree to which they value life. They are not crazy because they don’t dare, they’re crazy because they do. These people tend to enjoy life to the fullest, laugh the hardest, travel the most, and work the least.”
–  Lisa Morgan

It’s Not Too Late To Live

What’s even more amazing is that during our trek to Mt Matutum, a couple age 57 and 59 years old came with the group and successfully conquered the mountain up to the summit!

When asked what their reason for climbing is, they only said, ‘Better do it now before it’s too late.”

Inspiring indeed. It reminds us all that it’s never too old or too late to have an adventure and live.

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Mt Matutum Flora and Fauna

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Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. -Hans Christian Andersen

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rainforest

Does they look something similar? Clue: Zombies love them!!

More Summit Photo Moments

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Mt Matutum Marker

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Pitching tents and the freezing atmosphere!

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The Descent

But of course, you cant’ just stay on the summit.

What’s even more arduous is the descent, especially that it rained the night before. Scary slippery!

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“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
– Ed Viesturs

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“If adventure has a final and all-embracing motive, it is surely this: we go out because it is our nature to go out, to climb mountains, and to paddle rivers, to fly to the planets and plunge into the depths of the oceans… When man ceases to do these things, he is no longer man.”
– Wilfrid Noyce

Sarangani Bay Fest 2013 : The Biggest Beach Festival in Mindanao

Sarangani Bay Festival

It’s summertime once again and yes, it’s time to head to the beach – and party all day long!

But what if you have a chance to go to this year’s BIGGEST BEACH FESTIVAL IN MINDANAO?! Would you dare miss it?

I’m sure you won’t.

So why wait any longer? Come and save these dates for the Sarangani Bay Festival 2013 in the white sands of Gumasa Beach shore in Glan, Sarangani Province.

Sarangani Bay Fest 2013 Schedule

Sarangani Bay Festival

Stay tune here for more updates on the event and schedule of activities. Or you may head on to the Facebook Page of Sarangani Bay Fest!

See you!

Kalilangan Festival 2013: Kadsagayan Street Dancing Competition

The season of festivals in the Philippines isn’t over yet as the City of Generals celebrate Kalilangan Festival 2013!

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Kalilangan is the city’s carrier event for its Foundation Anniversary celebration showcasing the city’s history, artistry, cultural heritage and tourism potentials.

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Kalilangan Festival: National Best Tourism Event 2011 & 2012

In October last year, General Santos City’s Kalilangan Festival was declared Best Tourism Event in Culture and Arts Category. This was the second time the event bagged the same award following the preceding year.

Queue of Photographers Capturing the Event

Queue of Photographers Capturing the Event

No wonder thousands of tourists flock to watch this most anticipated festivity in the tuna capital of the Philippines – General Santos City.

Kadsagayan Street Dancing Competition

The main streets of Heneral Santos are once again flooded with people, colors and festive dancers on the afternoon of February 27, 2013.

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Adventuroj along with my buddies joined in the merriment with our SLRs on hand in capturing memories of this once in a lifetime event.

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A little something about Kalilangan

Kalilangan is derived from the rootword “Kalilang” which typically means celebration or commemoration in the Maguindanaon dialect.

In a broader perspective, kalilang projects a positive and dynamic meaning for it engulfs the artistic, humane and altruistic aspects of social interaction that takes place in any occasion or celebration.

Kalilangan 2013

Kalilangan means festival, feastivity or jubilee. It is a social gathering marked by exchanging of amenities among traditional leaders, elders, allies and subordinates in varying tones.

It is also a pageantry of unique and colorful ethnic rites, rituals and traditions like marriage celebrations, religious ceremonies, anniversaries, funerals, enthronement of royal dignitaries, thanksgiving and other social forms of social, political and economic activities.

Kalilangan Festival 2013 Photos

“Kadsagayan” or the glamorous street dance parade portrays the traditional tri-people’s dances.

This year 6 participants compete for the crown. Here they are:

May your eyes enjoy the feast and parade of photos and color!

Participant No 1

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Participant No 2: Sambulayang Cultural Dance Troupe of Sultan Kudarat

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Participant No 3: Pedro Acharon Sr. Central Elementary School

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Participant No 4: Binandisan Performing Arts Group from Maguindanao

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Participant No 5: Indak Kabataan Performing Arts

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Participant No 6

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Now who do you think will win?

Kalilangan Festival 2013 Winners

Kadsagayan 2013 Champion

Binandisan Performing Arts Group from Buluan, Maguindanao was declared overall champion in the Kadsagayan Streetdance competition 2013 at the Oval Plaza Wednesday, February 27. The group bagged P150,000 cash, a trophy and certificate of participation.

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Perfectly depicting the theme: “Tri-People in Unity, Excellence in Harmony.” among the Indigenous Peoples (IPs), Muslims and the Christian populations

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Kadsagayan 2013 1st Runner-up

Contingents from Pedro Acharon Elementary School was declared 1st Runner-up. The group bagged P100,000 cash, a trophy and certificate of participation.

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Kadsagayan 2013 2nd Runner-up

Contingents from General Santos City National Secondary School of Arts and Trade Indak Kabataan Performing Arts was declared 2nd Runner-up. The group bagged P75,000 cash, a trophy and certificate of participation.

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Kalilangan is a noble tradition. It is a complete work of art nourished and nurtured by a rich cultural heritage that has withstand the test of time from generation to generation. Indeed a portrayal of a culture that is only in General Santos!

Until next year Kalilangan!

A Call for Kalilangan Organizers

One thing that I’ve just noticed is that although the Kalilangan Celebration is a week long event, however the Street Dancing competition, which is the highlight of the festivity, falls on a weekday, February 27, making it almost impossible for other interested tourists to be at the festival due to work constraints.

Also, the competition is set to start at 1pm.. just after lunch..

Just imagine the blazing heat of the sun that the spectators and the dancers have to endure to witness the event? Unlike most of the festivals in the Philippines that I know that starts their street dancing early in the morning or in the evening (like the Hinugyaw) to avoid getting sun burnt.

Just take a look at these dancers, in their faces reflects the heat they have to endure.

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I’m sure they’re one with me in this call.. Hopefully next year will be a better and should I say cooler one? Haha

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Brgy. Bula Fluvial Patronal Fiesta: GenSan’s Mini Sinulog Festival Pit Senyor!

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After the recently concluded Hinugyaw Festival at Koronadal City, I found myself once again venturing into another colorful and vibrant festival, this time in General Santos City –  but unique as it is for it includes a fluvial parade.

My First Fluvial Parade Experience

Yes, this is my first fluvial parade. I’ve always wanted to attend one after seeing travel videos and photos in various parts of the country where fluvial parades are celebrated.

I was lucky enough that my travel buddy’s a relative of one of the owners of a fishing company in GenSan, and so I was grateful to be invited to board one of their vessel ships joining the fluvial parade.

Early Morning Start

January 15, 2013, the day of the feast of Sto Nino, the day started early as 4:30am. Almost 300 fishing vessels assembled their selves  near their respective ports at Brgy Calumpang, in preparation of the parade.

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Boats Assemble for the Fluvial Parade

Boats Assemble for the Fluvial Parade

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My Grateful Hosts for the Event.... Thank you!

My Grateful Hosts for the Event…. Thank you!

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The Fluvial Parade Tradition

The tradition is that one of these vessels (this year the Safi) will be carrying the Sto Nino and parade it from the Queen Tuna Park (aka Lion’s Beach) to the Fish Port and back ; while all other vessels will sail together with it.

While this is happening, people boarding the vessels (mostly families of fishermen) will be in joyful merriment, eating abundantly, loud talks, jolly music, and of course the Sinulog dance.

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The Vessel Carrying the Sto Nino

The Vessel Carrying the Sto Nino

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The Sinulog Dance

The Sinulog music plays and fills the air while the fluvial parade is going on, with people in the boat where the Sto Nino is held in merry dances while carrying the Sto Nino.

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The route continues with Para gliders in the sky joining and daytime fireworks display giving colors to the festivity.

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Vessel ships will try to get as close as possible to the boat carrying the Sto Nino in the pursuit of grabbing a flower from the Sto Nino’s decorated floral array.

Why you should grab a ‘Flower’ during the festivity?

It is a belief that a ‘flower’ from the Sto Nino will bless the one who held this for the entire year, fishermen with abundant catch, safe sailing to the sea, households with plentiful blessings, and more.

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The Sto. Nino Procession

After the fluvial parade, the Sto Nino is transferred to another decorated boat and transported back to Brgy Bula.

By this time hundreds of people awaits at the shore to welcome the Nino.

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Fluvial Parade Video

Here’s a mini clip from GMA News featuring the festivity.

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Indeed, this fluvial parade is a must watch merriment. So if you want to join next year, you know where to head to on the 15th of January! See you there!

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Wow! Hinugyaw! A Once in a Lifetime Nighttime Street Dancing Experience!

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January is indeed a month of festivals ; from the popular Sinulog in Cebu to the Ati-atihan in Kalibo and Dinagyang in Iloilo. But wait, I’m sure Mindanao wouldn’t let this month passed by without having something, particularly my province here in South Cotabato!

And so I present to you THE HINUGYAW FESTIVAL 2013!

Start this year with a bang as Koronadal City celebrates the 13th Hinugyaw Festival.

The said festival started last January 4 and culminates on the evening of January 10, 2013, highlighting the Piyesta Korona (Korona Festival), a unique blend of mardi gras, creative korona attire and float competitions and of course the most awaited nighttime Street Dancing Competition!

Yes! You heard that right, NIGHT Street Dancing that is! Contrary to the common street dancing held during the daytime, Hinugyaw trots the road less traveled ; and that’s what makes this festival even more interesting!

Streets once again will be flooded with curious spectators dying to witness participants in their colorful ethnic attires as they dance to the beat of lively cultural music.

So without further adieu, here are some shots I’ve took during the colorful festivity ;  a mixture of the Street Dancing Competition, a parade of beauties in their creative crowns and attires, and the the Float Parade.

Have a Feast!

Street Dancing Competition

Participant No. 1

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Participant No. 2

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Participant No. 3

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Participant No. 4

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Participant No. 5

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Participant No. 6

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And in this group I also spotted a very cute kid who got my camera glued on him.. so pardon if his smiles and gorgeousness took a lot of space in the following photos. I’m sure you’ll also agree with me after seeing these -

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Korona Creative Attire Competition

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Float Competition

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Hinugyaw festival is a week long celebration of the Foundation Anniversary of Koronadal City, the center of the Province of South Cotabato happening usually on the first week of January every year. It is a colorful merry-making depicting the evolution of the distinct cultures of B’laans, Maguindanao, and Christians into a singular wave of rhythm as a tribute to the creator, and in celebration of the spirit that Koronadal is known for dynamic and persistent in its bound for sustainable development.

So next time you’re heading South Mindanao, don’t forget to drop by and join in the merriment! Until next year Hinugyaw!

Not Your Ordinary Pasta House: Basilio’s – Based Basil Pasta and Resto

It was a cold and cozy Tuesday afternoon when me and my buddy decided to warm ourselves up by treating our appetite to a new found pasta house in our very own province in South Cotabato, specifically in Koronadal City.

Although we often eat out in Davao, but having a taste of specialty cuisines in our locality is still an experience worth trying ; something worth bragging for.

And so around 3pm we entered this home-turned-resto pasta house  – The Basilio’s.

Basilio's Pasta House

Basilio’s Pasta House

Upon entering this restaurant, one will definitely feel the warmth and coziness of a home. A perfect place for family bonding or simply catching up with old friends.

Basilio's Interior

Basilio’s Interior

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Heading upstairs you will be impressed by a Japanese style dining facility where tables are surrounded by cushions laid out for a relaxing dining experience. Floors are squeaky clean and laid out with banig. I even thought that this would be a perfect place to have a relaxing massage or yoga.

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And since it’s Japanese inspired, guest are required to leave their footwear behind. Need not worry for Basilio’s will be providing you slippers.

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Then it’s time to order.

Basilio’s Specialty

Basilio’s culinary fare specializes in pasta. You have a number of pastas and sauces to choose from. And of course, almost all of them include their favorite herb – the Basil. (The name Basilio’s was derived from the restaurant’s main ingredients in almost all their specialties – the Basil.)

For our 1st luncheon experience there, we tried their Carbonara Pasta, a fettuccine pasta which has the right amount of creaminess and non of that evap milk taste common in other restaurants. It has the right amount of saltiness from the bacon and butter.

Basilio's Carbonara

Basilio’s Carbonara

The Gambas Pasta, the signature dish of Basilio’s – a tomato based fettuccine pasta with shrimps topped with chili flakes. I was surprised at the pinch of spiciness that linger in your mouth after taking a spoonful of it, probably brought about by the chili flakes.

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 Gambas Pasta

Gambas Pasta

Then the third one the Lasagna, also a house specialty, mixed just with the right amount of creaminess enough to leave you wanting for more.

Lasagna

Lasagna

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This is also a favorite of my father. I actually heard this Pasta House first from him, turned out the owner was a friend of his. As a matter of fact you could also see one of my father’s craft in this culinary place – his Wall Aquariums, a hobby turned business by him. (Let me know if you want one done in your home! *Wink)

Wall Aquarium

Wall Aquarium made by my father

What is impressive with Basilio’s is that their prices are really reasonable! Imagine a plate of their succulent pasta will only cost you around P95 per single serving.. now that is delicious isn’t it?!

Basilios Menu

Basilios Menu

And for those who are not pasta-lovers, they also have main dishes served with rice and vegetables on the side.

Where is Basilios?

Basilio’s – Based Basil Pasta and Resto is located at 72 MH Del Pilar St., Korondal city. From Gensan drive, turn left at the round bowl, and once you reach Notre Dame of Marbel university, turn right and left again at MH Del Pilar St. For bookings or reservations, you can call them at +63 83 228 2878. Business hours is from 10AM til 10PM daily.

Adventuroj Ventures at Basilios

Adventuroj Ventures at Basilios

Kalilangan Festival 2012

Kalilangan Fetival 2012

This year I was one with General Santos City in celebrating its Kalilangan festival last February 27.

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The word Kalilangan is derived from the Maguindanaoan word “kalilang” which means “festival,” or “celebration.” The anniversary celebration commemorates the landing of the city’s founder, General Paulino Santos, along with the first settlers from Luzon, at the shores of Sarangani Bay.

Kalilangan celebrates colors, ethnicity, thanksgiving. There’s actually more that depicts Kalilangan, and and I am so proud to say that this year I celebrated Kalilangan with awesome friends.

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