Kaogma festival reels off May 21

THE Kaogma Festival reels off Saturday, May 21 to culminate with a big bang on Friday, May 27 to mark the 426th Foundation of the Province of Camarines Sur.

Between the opening motorcade and the climactic grand parade and closing rites that will be graced by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as guest of honor, will be a sizzling, full-week array of cultural extravaganza, historical presentations, sports competitions and entertainment galore that will be the “hottest happening” hereabouts this summer, Governor LRay Villafuerte announced.

Camarines Sur commemorates this historic event for the eighth consecutive year after it was conclusively established only in 1997 that May 27 is the foundation day of the province.

The Kaogma, local dialect term denoting happiness, a traditional Bikolano thanksgiving feast of the summer harvest, has been institutionalized into the week-long festival the provincial government is promoting to place Camarines Sur in the festival agenda and tourism map of the world.

To give this year’s Kaogma distinctive color and “local flavor”, the big pepper locally called “sili”, that pungent condiment that literally fires up many recipes of the Bikolano cuisine, and the color red have been chosen mascot and motif of the festivities.

Guests and celebrators are enjoined to wear red for the occasion.

The ‘sili’ mascot is among the innovations introduced by Camarines Sur Governor LRay Villafuerte to give the annual Kaogma Festival a distinct identity similar to Baguio City’s Panagbenga, Cebu’s Sinulog, Antique’s Ati-atihan and Bacolod’s Masskara.

Over a decade of extensive research in historical annals that extended up to archives in Spain initiated by then governor now Congressman Luis R. Villafuerte of the second district, confirmed it was on May 27, 1579 that Governor General Francisco de Sande issued the decree to establish a settlement near the native village of Naga which eventually led to the creation of the province of Camarines Sur.

The first ever foundation day celebration on May 27, 1998 - the 419th - was a simple affair because of time constraints until the Kaogma, a revival of the traditional local feast of the summer harvest, was instituted as a weeklong celebration of the foundation of the province since 1999, the 420th.

As in previous years, the Kaogma will be highlighted by crowd-drawing events like the Miss Camarines Sur Beauty Pageant participated in by beauties from the 35 towns and 2 cities of the province, the grand parade that features colorful floats, street dancing contests, fancy drill, drum and lyre and majorette competitions and the Tour of Camarines Sur.

Personalities led by Department of Tourism Secretary Ace Durano are expected to grace celebration as well as showbiz stars and celebrities including Lani Mercado, Angelica Panganiban, Marvin Agustin, Onyok Velasco, Nadine Agustin, Pauleen Luna, KC Montero, Ella V., Parokya ni Edgar and the Retrospect Band will be guests or hosts of various activities.
The year’s Tour of Camarines Sur that has drawn a total of 425 cyclists from all over the country has been expanded to cover four laps and will reel off May 23 up to May 26. The four-segment route that starts at Siruma and winds up at the Provincial Capitol Complex was extended to a total of 405 kilometers, the longest Tour ever.

Another highlight of the celebration will be a food fair showcasing native cuisine and specially featuring “hot food” and “hot buys” spiced with red pepper for sale to guests and visitors during the entire duration of the festivities.

Other events and activities during the weeklong celebrations are the Hot Kids Star Search, amateur boxing competitions, a war games challenge, air gun silhouette shooting competition, kite flying contest, lawn tennis tournament, marksmanship competition, motocross and the off-road challenge.

Source: http://www.bicolmail.com/issue/2005/may19/reports.html

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