58 SM Supermalls nationwide were united in observing the country’s 118th Independence Day celebrations with numerous activities lined up. The celebration in SM Mindanao Malls have been more festive through the ethnic performances featuring the prosperous cultural heritage of Mindanao Region.

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Flag-raising ceremony for Independence Day Celebration at SM City General Santos

In SM City General Santos, Councilor Shandee Llido graced the event along with the GenSan settlers led by Ms. Pat Salazar and the head of City Social Welfare and Development, Ms. Rebecca Magante. The celebration started with a parade participated by MPC Cadets, students from SPED, HTC Band, Mall tenants, affiliates and admin employees. It was followed with a historical performance by Teatro Ambahanon and a flag-raising ceremonial afterwards. Inventor and Educator, Mr. William Moraca shared a short message of nationalism.

SM City General Santos affiliates and mall admin employees partaking the Independence Day celebration of the mall

This year, SM City General Santos mounted a mythical Sarimanok as their giant centerpiece. It is a legendary icon of the Maranao tribe in Moslem Mindanao which symbolized wealth and prosperity.

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The Sarimanok centerpiece of SM City General Santos, a legendary bird of Maranao people who originate from Mindanao

Blaan performances and “The Lutes of Philippine Exhibit” highlighted the celebration. Two faglong masters Ailon Jaman Tolentino and Rosita Tao entertained the public by playing their tribal songs using a faglong, a Philippine two-stringed, fretted boat-lute. Mr. Bing Cariño, who curated “The Lutes of Philippine Exhibit”, said that the exhibit raises awareness to the public, especially the youth, about the rich and diverse culture of the country.

At SM City Davao, the Independence Day was marked with a flag hoisting ceremony at the mall’s front covered walk along Quimpo Boulevard. The occasion was kicked off by a parade of 118 colors. Around 250 mall tenants and mall employees attended the occasion along with more than 300 bikers from BJMP and the Habagat Bikers Group. Joining the celebration at SM Davao were the Department of Education XI, the Department of Social Welfare and Development XI, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration XI, and the Department of Foreign Affairs—Mindanao. On the mayor’s behalf, Councilor Bernard Al-ag graced the event and delivered the incoming president’s message. Brgy. Capt. Rolando Trajera was also in attendance.

The shoppers were greeted with mall employees donning traditional Philippine costumes as they entered the mall. The Annex Event Center was filled with Filipino music with the performances from UP Mindanao’s Koro Kantahanay and Musikademy. SM Davao’s in-mall music was also aptly composed of OPM hits. Apart from the musical performances, in conjunction with the Independence Day celebration was the Philippine Eagle Foundation’s interactive exhibition for the Philippine Eagle Week from June 5 at the Annex Art Strip. Among the exhibit’s components were a forum on conservation, art sessions as well as wildlife interaction.

In SM Lanang Premier, mall employees, clad in various national costumes and Mindanaoan tribal wear, together with tenants, affiliates, security forces and various community stakeholders, gathered for the flag-raising activity along the mall’s Grand Boulevard.

Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Bonifacio Tan graced the activity and shared a message to the audience.

Delegates from Davao City Police Office led by PSupt Emmanuel Palicte Caquilala, Philippine Coast Guard District Southeastern Mindanao headed by Ensign Howard Dwight Dolino, Bureau of Fire Protection-Lanang Fire Station led by SF01 Ulysses Cervantes. Barong collector and local media personality Architect Michael Dakudao was also on hand to join the Independence Day celebration. SM Supermalls VP for Operations (Mindanao) Oliver Tiu, SM Lanang Premier Mall Manager Therese Lapeña-Manalo and Assistant Mall Manager Junjie Crisante gave the guests a warm welcome.

In SM City Cagayan de Oro, employees take pride in wearing Filipiniana and Barong Tagalog to show their love for the country on Independence Day.

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Department of Tourism- Region 10 Director Catalino Chan III graces the Independence Day celebration at SM City Cagayan de Oro
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Paru-paro – ang makabagong simbolo ng magandang pagbabago. The exhibit is located at the Ground Floor of SM City Cagayan de Oro
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The Xavier University Cultural Dance Troupe showcasing Filipino Culture and the Art through dances

To add to the patriotic celebration, Momz Perfect wowed the audience with their powerful rendition of OPM classics while the Xavier University Dance Troupe performed beautiful and vibrant Philippine folk dances. Other highlights include the solo performance of Ran Obenita singing “Umagang Kay Ganda” and the ballet dances of Grace and Pointes to commemorate the Philippine Independence.

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The Independence Day parade at SM City General Santos facade (photo credits to the SOX blogger head: Mr. Avel Manansala)

For many years, SM Supermalls stands at the forefront in engaging the public to celebrate the country’s independence in recognition of its significant role and contribution to every community where an SM mall operates.