GENERAL SANTOS CITY (27 February 2015) – After four years of dazzling themes of amazing success, Kalilangan is now going back to the roots where it all began – culture.
Kalilangan 2015, during its opening day on Monday (February 23) was a throwback of time linking memories and culture that helped shaped what General Santos City is now.
With the theme “Kalilangan: Ano Ang K Mo?”, every resident of the city is encouraged to dig deep and search for who or what they represent today.
Some have said kapayapaan (peace) owing to the peaceful co-existence of different tribes and cultures in the city, while others said kasaganaan (affluence) because of the teeming bounties of nature both in land and in sea; and some even said kagandahan (beauty) a testament to the city’s natural beauty.
But for City Mayor Ronnel Rivera, K for him—as a fellow General or Gensan resident —is definitely kampeon (champion).
For Mayor Rivera, Kalilangan is all about how Gensan overcame adversities and travails before getting to where it is right now.
“Everything good must start from somewhere; it should be refined first and go under the heat of the crucible,” the mayor said.
Of course, the wealth of Gensan is not solely tuna. For Mayor Rivera it is people and the culture present in it.
Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, before serving the province of Sarangani, grew up in Gensan, specifically in barangay Labangal.
Other stars in the showbiz today were born here in Gensan such as Gerald Anderson and Melisa Cantiveros. XB Gensan is a renowned dance group that learned how to dance grew up here in the city.
New sports champs are also flourishing now in Gensan such as Jean Pierre Sabido, a Taekwondo player who bagged six gold medals in the 9th World Tae Kwon Do Poomsae Championship last 2014.
“Although we are far from perfect, we have already proven that General Santos City has a culture that can shape champions,” Mayor Rivera said.
“Basta galing Gensan, panalo,” the mayor added.
Before Gensan took the moniker “Tuna Capital of the Philippines”, the city was formerly an idle land settled by migrants from Luzon and Visayas headed by General Paulino Santos through the National Land Settlement Administration (NLSA).
The celebration of Kalilangan is meant for that historic event that led to the inception of the city.
With the new partner organizers, the Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges, the city government is again to relive these tales.
During the opening rites of Kalilangan, Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno came to experience what kind of festival Kalilangan is. (Gensan CPIO/ Ian John M. Lagare)