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May 1 of every year, finds the whole city of Tagbilaran in a festive mood as they celebrate the feast of St. Joseph, the Worker, the city’s patron saint. Several Masses are held during the day following the Sunday schedule. The concelebrated Mass is usually held at 9 a.m., followed by a motorcade and a fluvial parade. The church at this time overflows with the faithful, some to attend the Masses and others who come just to light candles as an offering to the saint for graces obtained. Thus, Tagbilaran kicks-off and starts the Fiesta Month.
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The celebration, though, is more felt at Barangay Poblacion 1, 2 and 3, Dampas, Cogon and Mansasa. The individual households in these barangays really prepare, not only the food that they will serve their expected guests, but also their homes. Many go to the extent of renovating their homes, putting up new and elaborate curtains, and cleaning the whole house and surrounding gardens to really celebrate the feast in style.
Way back, the city is a hive of activity wherein government offices, department stores, malls and other establishments prepare for activities lined-up to enliven the celebration. Main thoroughfares are decorated with buntings, including colourful flags and streamers, adding much to the festive look of the city.
In consonance with the 9-day novena prior to the feast day, nightly entertainments are also scheduled. The most prominent activity within the 9 days is the search for the “Mutya sa Tagbilaran”, a beauty pageant. Other activities are concerts, literary musical shows, dramas and stage plays, and more.
The nightly entertainment last April 22-31, 2008 went thru as scheduled. Most of the activities were held at the back of the Tagbilaran City Central Market. The Ms. Tagbilaran pageant and coronation however was held at the Bohol Cultural Center. The event started way past 8 p.m. until midnight.
Night events were: The Jingle Singing Contest presented by the Peacock Garden Resort; Cruisin’ in the Market with Versatile Band presented by Cruztelco and Gabii sa Agik-ik ug Katawa presented by the Bohol Gay Association and Unitop Merchandising. A live drama entitled “Goliat, and Makoy Makalolooy” was received with much acclamation from the audience. Other events were Punchfest, Ms. Tagbilaran Talent Night, Banda Night with SMB, Hiphop Dance Competition with Pepsi and Comedy and Magical Variety Show with FCB.
To add to the fanfare, the top malls of the city also lined-up special presentations in their respective establishments which were great crowd gatherers before and even after the fiesta itself. At the Island City Mall Activity Center, the Aegies Pink Lilac Band performed. Way past the feast day, on May 3, 2008, the well-known child actor Makisig Morales with a few celebrities entertained the shoppers of ICM.
Fiesta Exhibit 2008 of Du Ek Sam was held at another big mall of the city, the Bohol Quality Mall, specifically at the Atrium while BQ Cinemas offered the public with top billing movies. Fiesta Elektronica featuring DJ Regiel was witnessed and heard at the MetroCentre’s Club Atmospheres, a big hotel located at the central district of Tagbilaran City.
Nothing is deemed “too much” in terms of offerings for the city’s beloved patron saint. The church itself received both monetary and material offerings during the novena Masses sponsored by the different sectors of the city. Even business establishments take turns in sponsoring special Masses in honor of St. Joseph.
The well-known clans of Tagbilaran also held reunions and sponsored special Masses. With the reunions, relatives from foreign lands came home to celebrate with their families; bringing with them countless gifts and most often than not, sponsoring the preparations of their specific households.
There is no “economic crisis” wherever in Tagbilaran City for the week prior to the actual feast day, and more so on the feast day itself. Malls and department stores were close to overflowing. Shoppers came from far away towns and barrios of the province; lured by the countless sales promotions, the nightly activities, trade fairs and more.
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