Tuna Festival promises to be ‘bigger, grander’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 August) – A “bigger and grander” Tuna Festival 2019 will give residents and tourists alike “new flavors” of the famed tuna from the city’s thriving multimillion industry.

Rofil Mae Rillo, festival director, said they are all set for the week-long festivity,  which has been reinvigorated to bring a more authentic feel and taste of what the city offers as the country’s “tuna capital.”

The festival, now on its 21st year, will formally open on Friday, Aug. 30, and will run until Sept. 5, the city’s 51st inaugural anniversary.

It is co-presented by the city government, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport)-Region 12 and the South Cotabato Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce Inc.

Rillo said this year’s festival, which has a budget of P4 million, is mainly taking inspiration from the city’s tuna industry, which hosts the annual National Tuna Congress as one of the highlights.

“We are aiming to introduce the tuna festival as the biggest industry development-based festival in the Philippines,” she said in a briefing.

She said they have lined up various “high-impact” events to bring the level of “excitement, fun and grandeur” of the festivity to another level.

As part of the festival’s “new flavors,” organizers introduced a new logo depicting the focus of the celebration and a “reimagined” theme music.

They adopted the “Atlantis” theme for the setup of the main festival venue at the city’s sprawling oval plaza grounds.

It features the Aqua Cave carnival, Oval Atlantis food park, Coral Reef durian and fruits galore, Poseidonis party zone and the Philexport’s sashimi street.

The sashimi street is one of the main features this year to give residents and visitors a chance to taste various top tuna products.

The other main events and activities are the Sagwan: Tuna Festival 2019 grand opening and fireworks display, Layag Tuna float parade, Lumba Bugsay, Sugbahan sa Dalan, Fish Fest sa Fishport, Mr. and Ms. Tourism pageant, Gabi ng Mandaragat, Tuna Culinary Exchange  and the Tunaman Triathlon.

There are also scheduled celebrity mall shows, mall sales as well as nightly shows and entertainment at the oval plaza.

Rillo said they are also working to establish the festival as a “sustainable tourism initiative” through various environmental advocacy measures and activities.

She said these includes the distribution of fabricates fish bins at the oval plaza and other strategic areas in the city.

“We will segregate and gather the recyclable trash and turn these over to our partner agencies,” she said. (MindaNews)