Zamboanga City's theme logo for the 2006 Zamboanga Hermosa Festival. (Gerky Valesco)
ZAMBOANGA CITY ((Uly Israel) / 30 Sept) - Here comes the most touted, considered as the grandest festivity staged every year in Zamboanga City - the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival!
Starting September 30 until the end of month of October, a series of activities have been prepared by the city government and the private sector, an ambitious project designed to draw local as well as foreign tourists to the city.
The organizers have adopted the theme: “Alegria, Alegria, Adelante Zamboanga” (Merry, Merry, Forward Zamboanga!) to highlight what awaits those who would join the revelry.
Expected to draw visitors to the city are scheduled concert of Sharon Cuneta on the 7th of October, the unique presentation of "Wow Zamboanga!", the Band and Dance competitions, the Regatta de Zamboanga, the religious activities on October 12, the free concert of Rey Valera, the trade fair and many more.
It officially reeled off September 30 with the opening of the 14th Shell National Youth Active Chess Championship (regional leg tournament) at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University gymnasium.
The month-long celebration consists of over 40 activities which will last until the end of October. The annual revelry is being held in honor of the feast day of the Nuestra Senora de la Virgen del Pilar, the city’s patron saint, on October 12.
Senate President Manuel Villar will be the city’s guest of honor and speaker during the commemorative program on October 11 at the open stage fronting City Hall. The program will be preceded by a street dance where elementary and high school students will parade the streets with their different costumes and dances at 9 a.m.
At 1 p.m. the same day, a floral float competition and street dance showdown would be held fronting the open stage.
This year’s festival will be highlighted by the unique presentation of Wow Zamboanga!, wherein some of the city’s 98 villages will present nightly cultural shows at the National Museum Courtyard from October 3-10, spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT-Zamboanga City).
On October 1st, traveling merchants will open their stalls for the public at the CDCP complex, which has been converted into an open bazaar complex. Some 200 merchants from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao will participate in the festivities.
Micaela Marquez, a Zamboanguena, will feature her art works in an art exhibit dubbed as “Las Mujeres de Zamboanga” at the lobby of the Lantaka Hotel.
The “Cosechas de Zamboanga”, a trade fair exhibit will also run from Oct. 3-15 at the Plaza Pershing.
The 2006 Dance Sport competition will be held on October 4 at the City Coliseum while a motorcade for Sharon Cuneta will be held on October 5 from the Zamboanga International Airport to the Palmeras Restaurant in Sta. Maria where she is to hold a press conference.
On October 6, the activity will include the 26th Chavacano Song Festival at the Garden Orchid Hotel roof deck (6 p.m.); a torch parade sponsored by the Universidad de Zamboanga, which will also be celebrating its Foundation Day; the Search for Mannequin of the Year, 7 p.m. at the Astoria Regency; and the free concert featuring Rey Valera, Saling Ket and Yra Johnson dubbed as “Ayer, Ahora y Manana Tuloy ang Love Songs, at 7 p.m. at the Coliseum in Tetuan village.
The public will have the chance to see the "Carrera de Zamboanga" from the Sta. Cruz Island to R.T. Lim Boulevard, Luyahan-Pasonanca-Muruk and then to City Hall on October 7.
The same day will also be the start of the two-day 1st Zamboanga Hermosa Mindanao Age Group Swimming Competition at the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex; the start of the two-day (Oct. 7-8) golf tournament dubbed as Mayor Celso Lobregat Cup Golf Tournament at the Golf and Country Club and the start of the BC Cup 2006, an inter-government badminton tournament sponsored by Vice Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco at the LB Badminton Center (Oct. 7-8) and Sharon Cuneta's Mega Concert (Oct. 7) at the Summit Center in Tetuan.
October 8 will be the Regatta de Zamboanga, the sail boat race at the R.T. Lim Boulevard at 7 a.m.; the Milo Marathon at the Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex; 37th Celebrating Dance, a dance competition at the WMSU gym and the Balikbayan Night, a dinner program for the Vamos A Zamboanga participants sponsored by the Department of Tourism at the Hacienda de Palmeras, 6 p.m.
October 9 activities will include the band competition at the Southern City Colleges and the Modern Dance Competition dubbed as “You Got Serve” at the Ground Zero disco.
The 3rd quarter regional scout committee meeting will reel off on October 10 at the Astoria Regency in the day time and at 7 p.m. simultaneously will be the Miss Zamboanga Beauty Pageant at the Astoria Regency and the ABS-CBN Mighty King of the Road Amateur Singing Competition at the City Hall Open stage
On the eve of the Fiesta Pilar - Oct. 11 - will be the street dance at 9 a.m. and the street dance showdown and floral float at 1 p.m. and culminated by program with Sen. Villar as guest.
October 12, the Feast Day of the Nuestra Senora, declared a non-working holiday in Zamboanga, will be devoted to religious activities. At 5 a.m. will be Diana (street brass band play) and the saying of the Holy Rosary and the grand procession in the afternoon from the Metropolitan Cathedral to the Fort Pilar shrine where the mass will be held.
The post fiesta activities include the October Fest at the Park 88 diner (Oct. 12-14); Oct 14 - Six Cycle Mind's concert at the city coliseum and the Concert at the Open Stage City Hall featuring the Viva Hot Babes; October 14-15-culmination of the BC Badminton Cup; October 20-21-Clean Green Coco Zamboanga at the Yubengco Star Mall in Putik village.
Mayor Celso Lobregat has given a directive to police and military authorities to draw up the security plans for the month-long celebration of Fiesta Pilar. (Mindanao Examiner)