The 11 groups representing various government offices, including the district hospitals in North Cotabato, joined the Costume Parade and Showdown dubbed ‘Mardi Gras.’ The show, however, was not a competition. It only served as a culminating activity to make the celebration more festive since everything is back to normal.
“Earlier, I asked our governor (Emmylou Lala Taliño-Mendoza) if the presentation is a competition like the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City, but she said that you are doing it because of your love for the province. I asked as I was thinking of adding the cash prize,” Duterte said in vernacular.
Instead, Duterte gave P30,000 ‘pahalipay (reward)’ to each group that participated in the parade and showdown in appreciation of their interests, efforts, and full support for the province, which truly represents the Kalivungan Festival.
Photo via Ivy TEJANO / MANILA BULLETIN
Governor Taliño-Mendoza said that Kalivungan means gathering – a gathering of people to showcase ability and unity. She added the festival means a gathering of minds and aspirations and a gathering of outward and inner strength of the people of Cotabato.
“108 is a long time. It marks more than a century of a people’s common history, common struggle to rise and build better lives. 108 years and we gathered once more, to start yet again, to begin another chapter in our continuing story and history as individuals as people brought together by a common goal, a better, more progressive Cotabato for each and every individual who calls this province home,” said Taliño-Mendoza.
Photo via Ivy Tejano / MANILA BULLETIN
Taliño-Mendoza said this year’s festival is the most awaited event in the province following the challenges they went through, such as the earthquakes and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. She assured them that they will build their future much better than the past.
“If we really have to achieve a ‘Matatag na Cotabato: Susulong sa Anumang Hamon,’ now is the time we gather our strength and review our past. Learning and doing something about it is the key to recovery and stability,” added Taliño-Mendoza.
Duterte said that at the heart of the Kalivungan Festival is the unity among the people of North Cotabato who have been emboldened by the unwavering strength that deeply binds them into one, no matter what the race, the religion and beliefs, and the social status.
“We should sustain the gains of the friendships and unities we have forged despite our diversity and ensure that the next generation of Cotabateños will be able to experience the abundance of our resources, our culture, and the harmonious and peaceful life we have,” Duterte said.
Duterte lauded Governor Taliño–Mendoza and all the officials of the province and the people of North Cotabato for the success of the Kalivungan Festival. She said she hopes the province would pursue further prosperity and shine brighter in Mindanao and in the country.
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