General Santos City adds another feather to its cap with its major win at the recently concluded 10th ATOP National Convention held last week at the Tuna Capital.

Its Kalilangan Festival, which is celebrated annually every February in commemoration of the city’s Foundation Anniversary was awarded by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines as the Best Tourism Event of 2009 – Major City Category.

2009 Kalilangan Festival Logo
2009 Kalilangan Festival Logo

The award was handed out by Tourism Secretary Ace Durano during the final night of the 3-day gathering at the KCC Convention and Event Center, as part of the ATOP Best Tourism Practices Awards.  This is a project of both the ATOP and the Department of Tourism with the aim to “recognize and honor the most outstanding/ significant tourism projects and programs and tourism officers who have excelled in their respective local government units.”

“It is for this reason the ATOP decided to institutionalize an annual system of recognition of distinguished tourism personalities, groups, and events. The ATOP Best Tourism Practices Award hopes to celebrate the best in the tourism industry, which become the pillar of the society.” (source: WOWPhilippines)

DOT Secretary Ace Durano at the Awards Night of the Best Tourism Practices Awards during the 10th ATOP National Convention.
“DOT Secretary Ace Durano at the Awards Night of the Best Tourism Practices Awards during the 10th ATOP National Convention.”

Receiving the Best Tourism Event Award from Secretary Durano were Tourism Council Vice-Chairman Rey Billena, in behalf of Chairman Mayor Jun Acharon and GenSan City Councilor Richard Atendido, who chairs the Tourism Committee at the SP.

In previous years, the nearest that the city got to the championship was when its Tuna Festival won as First-Runner Up last year, during the Awards Night in Iloilo City, host of the 9th ATOP National Convention.

In an interview later this week, Mayor Acharon thanked not only the ATOP but also the GSC Tourism Association, the Festival Director Orman Manansala, and the members of the GSC Tourism Council for helping make this recognition possible.

Congratulations to the people behind Kalilangan Festival!