Ormoc celebrates Tugob Festival
ORMOC CITY – A lively festival music reverberated in the air of Ormoc City as the city celebrated the 2nd Tugob Festival on Saturday, October 22.
Clad in colorful attires, the festival participants stomped their feet on the ground, raised their arms, slapped their thighs, clapped their hands and shouted in unison as they thanked the Lord for a bountiful harvest and for bestowing on the city an array of natural resources.
Tugob is a Visayan word that means bountiful or abundant. Residents of Ormoc City in the western part of Leyte speak Cebuano, unlike those in the east who speak Waray.
About a thousand Ormocanon merry makers joined the festival, which was one of the highlights of this year’s weeklong celebration of the 34th Adlaw sa Ormoc, or the city’s Charter Day anniversary on October 20.
Ten different contingents participated in the festival and each of them was named after the resources that the city is enjoying most: coconut, rice, pineapple, livestock, minerals, sugarcane, vegetable, fish, steam and water.
According to the Tugob Festival rules, each contingent can have a minimum of 50 dancers and a maximum of 100, excluding props men.
More than P600,000 in prizes were given to the festival winners.
City Mayor Eric Codilla led city officials, employees and the people of Ormoc City in witnessing the event, which started around 8 o’clock in the morning with the street dancing competition. The dance parade passed through the major streets in the city and lasted until noon that day.
Then at around 1 p.m., the Tugob dance showdown started at the Ormoc City Central School grounds, attracting thousands of spectators.
In the street dancing contest, each contingent was given 3 to 5 minutes of presentation in a pre-designated area along the major streets of the city. During the Tugob Festival dance showdown at the Ormoc Central School ground, each contingent was given 6 to 10 minutes to present their number.
Each participating contingent depicted through a dance the livelihood that the food and natural resources have given the people, giving more emphasis on their assigned resources.
For instance, the white-clad Steam contingent gave focus on geothermal steam that provides geothermal energy and produces electricity. Ormoc City, together with Kananga, Leyte, hosts the Leyte Geothermal Production Field. Today, the geothermal plants in Ormoc City provide electricity not only to the city but also to other parts of the region and some provinces in the Visayas and Luzon.
On the other hand, the Pineapple contingent depicted in their dance how a native Ormocanon, Sabin Larrazabal, was able to nurture the pineapple variety that he got from the UP Los Baños. Starting from a small plot, the farm grew to 200 hectares, and is now producing more than 2,000 sweet pineapples daily. The famous pineapple variety is popularly known as Ormoc’s “Queen Pineapple.”
Wearing a pineapple designed costume, the Pineapple contingent, composed of students from the Sto. Niño College, bagged the Best in Costume prize of P15,000 plus trophy and the Best in Street Dancing Award, winning another P15,000 prize and trophy.
The Steam contingent, composed of students of the Eastern Visayas State University (EVSU)-Ormoc City campus, bagged the grand prize in the Tugob Festival dance showdown competition, which was P125,000 plus trophy. The Steam team also won the third prize in the street dance competition, bagging P5,000.
Second placer in the dance showdown was the Pineapple contingent, which won a prize of P115,000 and a trophy.
The EVSU-Ormoc campus team was last year’s Tugob Festival champion.
To ensure fairness in the judging, the festival organizers had invited personalities from outside the city to judge the festival competition activities.
The board of judges was composed of Tourism regional director Karen Tiopes of Tacloban City; Jesus de Paz of the Leyte Dance Theater in Tacloban City; Antonio “Toto” Cinco, executive director of the Leyte Kasadyaan Festival; dance instructor Cesar Estrella of Calubian, Leyte; and Dr. Joann Cerna of Baybay, Leyte.
According to the festival rules, the participating contingents would be judged based on choreography and originality (40 points); performance (30 points); creativity of costume (20 points) and to non hand held props (10 points).
Tiopes says that although the Tugob Festival is only on its second year, this year’s festival was very lively and the dances were well performed.
She says the festival in Ormoc has a great potential of becoming one of the best festivals in Leyte.
For her part, Ormoc City Councilor Lea Villar, chair of the city council’s tourism committee, says the festival was more merrier now compared to last year’s festival because the barangays have joined the festivities.
According to Villar, many have now participated in the festival, wearing more colorful costumes and using more props. There was a big improvement compared to last year’s Tugob Festival, she says.
“Personally, I could say it was a success,” Villar opined.
BY VEN LABRO
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