• RITZY R. MALO-OY
“We listen…We act together.”
This year’s theme of the Sinigayan Festival is a call for sensitivity to the needs of the city and its people, a call to work together in creating a positive change and a reminder to put aside the differences and come together as one community, united in the love for Sagay City and the Sagaynons.
The 2023 Sinigayan Festival is also a testament of the people’s resilience following the challenging pandemic years, where Sagaynons showed the best of their community in the spirit of their unifying love for their city.
Sinigayan Festival is an annual thanksgiving event in honor of St. Joseph, the City’s patron saint and showcasing Sagay City’s rich coastal and marine resources which is reflected in the festival where the bounties of the sea are the highlights of the said celebration.
Senator Francis Tolentino, guest of honor and speaker commended Sagay City for its continuous efforts for environmental protection that other local government units should emulate; this after the city was awarded as one of the Top 100 Destinations in the world.
Tolentino said that the city is blessed because it has surmounted every challenge and has even advocated so much for the protection of the environment.
Sagay City Mayor Narciso Javelosa Jr., who welcomed the guests, on the other hand said this year’s theme calls for being mindful to the needs of the people especially the poor, the oppressed, and those in the hemline of our society.
Javelosa expressed, “As government leaders, we need to go out of our comfort zone, talk to the people in our communities and listen to their stories, their problems, and their urgent needs that must be acted upon promptly,” so that programs being implemented are responsive to the needs of the people.
Representative Alfredo Marañon III, 2nd District of Negros Occidental, also said in his speech “We have seen people come together to support each other, help those in need, and keep our city safe. So, let us come together today and in the days ahead, to listen and act, to build a better Sagay and a brighter future for all of its people.”
Vice Mayor Leo Rafael Cueva also said that the awards given to Sagay set a challenge for them to create more sustainable programs and opportunities for communities while advocating the preservation and conservation of the environment.
Moreover, what made this year’s Sinigayan Festival more significant are the well-deserved international awards and commendations from the GREEN DESTINATIONS STORY AWARDS in Berlin, Germany which brings Sagay City’s inspirational story of sustainable tourism development and initiatives to the world’s center stage.
Sagay City placed second in the Top 100 Green Destinations Story Awards in the World under the Nature and Scenery Category and garnered a maximum of 1,749 votes bagging the People’s Choice Award, a favorite for their Good Practice Story.
The Green Destinations Story Awards 2023 was hosted by Internationale Tourismus-Börse in Berlin, Germany and presented by Anula Galewska (Travindy) and Gopinath Parayil (The Blue Yonder).
The opening ceremony was well-represented with the parade of government officials and employees, barangay representatives from the 25 barangays of the city, non-government, civil services organizations, national government agencies, colleges and universities, among others from Sagay National High School to the public plaza.
After the program, Tolentino and the city officials led the opening of the festival villages “Bugay-Sagay Agro-Aqua Festival Village” which showcased the best products of each barangay such as food pasalubong, personal and home accessories; “Dagway Sagay Arts and Culture Festival Village” where dance presentations of Sagay National High School SPA dancers were held along with a film showing of Margaha Film Festival entries with Balhasanay Film Movement; “Taliambong Food Festival Village”, and “Livestock and Poultry Fair & Exhibits” with games, raffles and entertainments.*