GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/08 Oct.) — The city’s renowned Kalilangan Festival has been elevated to the Hall of Fame of the annual Pearl Awards for best tourism practices after it was adjudged anew as the country’s best culture and arts tourism event for this year.
Abdurrahman Canacan, Chancellor of the Mindanao State University (MSU)-General Santos campus, said Tuesday the event received the prestigious award for the third straight year during the 2013 Pearl Awards held last week in Legazpi City.
The Pearl Awards, which mainly recognizes the country’s top tourism events and best practices, is a project of the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
The annual Kalilangan Festival, which is held every last week of February, is managed by MSU General Santos.
Considered as the city’s banner festivity, the event was adjudged as the country’s best culture and arts tourism event in the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Pearl Awards.
Canacan said the event clinched this year’s top award after getting positive reviews from the ATOP and the DOT.
As part of the search, university officials earlier presented the event to a team of evaluators that visited the city.
“They were impressed with the overall presentation of the event, its objectives and goals,” Canacan said.
Derived from the root word “kalilang,” which means celebration or commemoration in the Maguindanaon dialect, Kalilangan Festival mainly showcases the city’s history, artistry, cultural heritage and tourism potentials.
The festivities coincide with the city’s foundation anniversary celebration.
Canacan said the event mainly recognizes the efforts of various sectors in the city, especially its founders or pioneers, in its development from a coastal settlement around seven decades ago to its present status as a highly-urbanized locality.
“Through the festival, we’re also helping the city government achieve its goals to create an environment that allows the area’s tri-peoples – Lumads, Christians and Moros or Muslims — to live or coexist peacefully,” he said.
In the last three years, the official said the university has been working on introducing showcases that would highlight the city’s traditions and culture in the wake of the area’s fast-paced development.
This early, Canacan said they have started the initial preparations for next year’s event, which will also be the city’s 75th foundation anniversary celebration. (MindaNews)