KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/01 July) — Dapitan City, the “Shrine City of the Philippines,” is bracing for the influx of tourists later this month as it celebrates the annual Kinabayo Festival, an official said on Saturday.
“The Kinabayo Festival is held annually in honor of our patron saint, Saint James the Greater, who is also the patron saint of the entire Spain,” Apple Marie Agolong, Dapitan tourism officer, said in an interview.
“We invite tourists to come as there are many changes that happened in Dapitan City over the years,” she said.
Dapitan, a part of Zamboanga del Norte, is famous for the renowned Dakak Beach Resort, a secluded spot with world-class amenities for a comfortable stay.
Apart from Dakak, the city also hosts the Rizal Shrine and Park, a 16-hectare property where national hero Jose Rizal was exiled from 1892 to 1896.
Dapitan also houses Gloria de Dapitan, the only Disney-themed family and recreational park in Mindanao.
Kinabayo Festival is celebrated on July 25, but festivities will take place for 10 days starting on July 16, Agolong said.
“With the guidance from Mayor Rosalina Jalosjos, we are working to make the annual Kinabayo Festival better and exciting for our constituents and visitors,” Agolong, a former city councilor, said.
The city is expecting 25,000 visitors to grace this year’s festival, she added.
Street dancing, motocross with live band, national bowling tournament, music festival, hip hop competition and tattoo congress, among others, have been lined up for this year’s festival, Agolong said.
Usually, a day before the festival’s highlight, thousands of residents would gather at the city’s plaza to show their devotion to their patron saint.
With leaves waved wildly in the air, they would chant the name of the patron saint as its statue leaves the Church and is paraded around town, a hair-raising experience for first-time visitors.
A briefer said that Kinabayo is an exotic and colorful pageant re-enacting the Spanish-Moorish wars, particularly the Battle of Clavijo.
In that battle, the Spanish forces took their last stand against the Saracens. They were able to reverse the tide of the war with the miraculous apparition of Saint James. (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)