By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – After a 3-year hiatus, the first in-person holding of the Kasadyahan Festival of Sagay City, Negros Occidental kicked off Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
“Everyone is enthusiastic, this is the first festival celebration we will have after three years,” said Sagay City Mayor Narwin Javelosa said
“We felt like hugging everyone,” Vice Mayor Leo Rafael Cueva added.
Negros Occidental second district Rep. Alfredo Marañon III said that “the festival is not just a celebration of our heritage and the bounty that mother nature has given us, it is also a testament to the resilience of our people and our ability to come together in times of need.”
He also said that this year’s theme “We listen… We act together, is a call for action to all of us, it is a call to be attentive to the needs of our city and our people, to be compassionate and empathetic, and to work together to create positive change.”
“It is a reminder that we must put aside our differences and come together as a community, united in our love for Sagay City and its people,” Marañon said.
He further said that “the pandemic has affected us all in different ways and has forced us to adapt to new ways of living and working, but even in this difficult time, we have seen the best of our community, we have seen the resilience of our people and we know we will emerge from this stronger and more united than ever before.”
The guest speaker in the opening ceremony was Senator Francis Tolentino who lauded the local government’s efforts for environmental protection garnering an international award.
Sagay City won the People’s Choice Award and 2nd Place in the Nature and Scenery Category for Mangrove Forest Protection through its Community-based EcoTourism Project in the recent Green Destinations Story Awards for their sustainable tourism practices at the prestigious Internationale Tourismos-Borse (ITB) Berlin held in Messe Berlin, Germany on March 7, 2023.
Tolentino also led the Opening of the Festival Villages and Bugay Sagay Agro-Aqua Festival Village.
The festival highlight will be on March 19, 2023 with the Sinigay sa Sagay Saot sa Dunang Manggad Street Dancing Competition.