SAVORING GENSAN'S TUNA FESTIVAL ON MY SECOND AND FINAL DAY

From a funfilled first day of my Tuna Festival Experience, my second and final day at the City of the Generals was expected to be a bit hectic and awesomely surprising. HECTIC because I was the official judge of the Tuna Festival's Mardi Gras Street Dancing Competition performed in the morning and the afternoon; and SURPRISING because Avel Manansala told us he had prepared added surprises for us Bloggers from Davao. I was actually catching up a good sleep when my blogger roommates Jong Lim and Dr. Remo Aguilar woke me up to remind me that today was a big day. So, I hurriedly got up and readied myself for what was expected to be a long day.
Together with Avel Manansala, some SoCSKSarGen Bloggers, and my fellow Judges Lyle Santos, Brendel Balaga, Dulce Lada and Leah Valle, we headed to the Pioneer Avenue for the Mardi Gras Street Dancing Competition.
It was 8:oo am when we got there but the thoroughfare was already jam-packed with contingents of the Mardi Gras competition elegantly wearing their fabulous costumes. The magnificent colors of the Tuna Festival flooded the streets and immediately i felt the thrill and excitement of the Street Dancing Competition. Simply put, the festive spirit of Tuna Festival was deeply felt.
 There were 12 contingents vying for the coveted prizes and prestigious honor of the competition - 7 Elementary Schools and 5 High Schools, all from General Santos City. Our tasks as judges for the Mardi Gras Competition on that day was divided into two parts - the Carousel Parade (Street Dancing) at the Pioneer Avenue in the morning; and the Focal Presentation (Showdown) at Lagao Gymnasium in the afternoon.
 
 At the Carousel Parade, the 12 equally talented contingents paraded their colourful vivid costumes that depicted the richness of Gensan’s Seas. All of them were dancing on the streets in a very choreographed execution accompanied by one single festival song – Whoa Gensan!, performed by Centerpoint Band. Their dances and choreography displayed the significance of the bounties of the underwater world – its importance to the lives of the Generals. The multi-colored costumes and the different featured wardrobe designs of each contingent made the Street Dancing Competition more jovial and festive. Street Dancing performances were geared to the highest level of energy. It was exhilarating and indeed elating. Energy was high and contagious. Everyone was on a high spirit. 
As a judge, I made sure to give appropriate score to the performers. I focused on the choreography, creativity and neatness of execution of the performances. It was a hot morning yet it did not stop the kids from giving out their best performances. The aesthetic appeal was amusing. The colorful costumes indeed added flavor to every step these kids were performing. To sum it up, the Mardi Gras Street Dancing at the Pioneer Avenue was remarkably a hit to every spectator around.

After the Mardi Gras Street Dancing Avel Manansala, brought us to “Little Kitchen” for our lunch courtesy of the Restaurant Owner Dr. Ma. Margarita Dometita. Little Kitchen is a newly opened two week old restaurant in Gensan that promises to give the Generals a different outstanding dining experience.
As the name denotes, Little Kitchen is indeed a SMALL but charming restaurant. However, it has a BIG reason to boast because what they in store for their guests are undeniably a one of kind dining experience. Little Kitchen got a wide array of scrumptious menu that will surely entice those hungry stomach.
 
After that sumptuous dining, we headed to Lagao Gymnasium for the Focal Presentation of the Mardi Gras Competition. At the Focal Presentation, the 12 Contingents were to perform their dance entry jived with their owned selected Canned Music/Mixed Music which depicts the vibrant attitudes of the Generals and the colorful Underwater World that had brought them the bounties of the sea. All the judges including myself were stationed at the upper bleacher to get a very good view of the whole performances.
 
When the competition began, the gym was covered with excitement and anticipation as spectators cheered their individual bets for the most coveted Grand Prize. Unlike the Street Dancing at the Pioneer Avenue, the Focal Presentation was more intricate, well rehearsed where execution was well defined. Personally, I did not expect that the ones I thought second-rate contingents at the Street Dancing wowed me and amused me during the Focal Presentation. I was blown away by their startling production. The swift but neat executions of dance steps and the wonderfully designed costumes blasted the crowd with awe and applause. Festive spirit filled the air. The 12 Contingents finished their performances with great pride and enthusiasm.
Before the announcement of the winners, all 12 contingents gathered themselves together and simultaneously danced to the beat of Whoa Gensan, the Tuna Festival Official Theme Song. At the end, the Grand Prize Winner was announced. It was well deserved.
During the evening, we were invited to take part of the releasing of the White Lanterns and witness the Splash In The Sky, A Firework Display at the front of Gensan City Hall. It was my first experience taking part of releasing the white lanterns. It was one of the pleasant feelings I had while I was there. Seeing my white lantern floating in the air gave me some sort of explainable joy. I felt like I was a kid.
When the Fireworks Display started, it was another story. Coming from a Davao City where fireworks and pyrotechnics are prohibited, seeing a Firework Display is tremendously a very stirring and emotive experience. I was filled with joy seeing its beauty that brighten the up the dark sky. I felt good and, yes, I wished I could experience the same in my beloved Davao City so I could tag my family along with me and together watch this beautiful masterpiece in the sky. It was a wonderful experience.
After that marvelous Firework Display, Avel Manansala brought us to the Concert of Globe Telecom featuring Parokya Ni Edgar. We were at the back stage where we were given VIP Seats for the Concert. The very beautiful Gensan City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio was also there watching her constituents enjoyed the Concert. She was so warm and cordial. I had fun at the Concert. Looking at the crowd, I saw how the Generals love to party and love to savor the festive moment of their magnificent Tuna Festival.
 

It was 1 AM when Avel brought us back to Hotel Dolores. It was the time to say goodbyes and thank you for bringing us to Gensan and experience the Tuna Festival at its finest. Indeed, Tuna Festival is a must visit event in our Island Mindanao because it showcase not just the lives and attitudes of the Generals but the bounties of the underwater world that not only Gensan enjoyed but the rest of the country.
As I end this post, I truly would like to convey my deepest thanks to the Tuna Festival Director Orman Manansala for officially inviting me to be part of the event, Ria Jose for the endorsement, Avel Manansala for being super nice, ever hospitable host, the SoCcKSarGen Bloggers for their warm welcome and my fellow Davao Bloggers for the funfilled memories during my whole stay in Gensan – DAGHAN SALAMAT! Magandang Gensan!
Sure, I’ll be back!

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12 comments

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October 5, 2010 at 3:26 PM delete

very well said!

and as usual the photos are great!

two thumbs up!

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October 5, 2010 at 3:52 PM delete

@ Lito Antoque - Hi Lito. Thank you very much again for dropping by. :)

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October 5, 2010 at 4:50 PM delete

Thanks for visiting Gensan Olan!

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October 5, 2010 at 5:25 PM delete

guests like you makes hosting so heart-warming! see you in our future festivals!

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October 5, 2010 at 6:25 PM delete

@ Sheng - Hi Sheng. I love Magandang Gensan. I'l be going back there soon. :)

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October 5, 2010 at 6:26 PM delete

@ Orman - The pleasure is mine Ormz. You and Avel are two of a kind. I'm so happy to have friends like you. Salamat ng marami!

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October 6, 2010 at 11:29 PM delete

Looks like another major festival to look forward to every year.. but why is it that participants are kids?

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October 7, 2010 at 12:27 PM delete

@ ENHENYERO - Yeah, i am looking forward for another year. :)

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October 10, 2010 at 3:53 AM delete

I love your post Olan! And you, my friend, are fun to be with.

Napapatawa pa rin ako kapag naaalala ko ang "laptop" anecdote mo...

See you around!

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October 11, 2010 at 2:01 PM delete

@ Brendel - You guys rock. Thanks a lot. I'm looking forward for another Festival Trip with you. Love your company so much. :)

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October 27, 2010 at 1:04 AM delete

KAINGGIT! SUUUUPER! Glad you had fun! ;)

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November 1, 2010 at 12:50 PM delete

nice and interesting blog bai! i enjoyed reading your posts.

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