No one and nobody ever predicted that this year’s just concluded staging of the Tuna Festival in commemoration of General Santos City’s 41st Charterhood Anniversary would be the most heavily attended in its 11-year old history!
Not even its Tuna Festival Director!
In fact, when Asia United Bank -GenSan Branch Head (and newbie blogger) Orman Manansala was designated by GenSan Mayor Jun Acharon to once again wear the apron as the Tuna Festival’s Director this year, he was apprehensive at first. He was coming in during a time when the worldwide economy was still in the doldrums, when the Tuna Industry is on a standstill aggravated by a 2-month moratorium on fishing in the Pacific and when the budget for the festival has not risen considerably in line with the times. Those could have been enough to dampen the spirit of the Tuna Festival.
Still, with a fired-up heart of a general inside of him, and after getting the support of his colleagues at the Gen. Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry where he is the Vice-President, he accepted the crown and scepter, err, the responsibility and set about to working…. juggling his duties as VP and Branch Head of his bank and as the new Tunafest Master Chef.
First, he coaxed and cajoled and eventually convinced the Mayor to include a Mardi Gras among the major events, in the absence for quite of time of the Street Dancing Competition which the mayor felt, belonged to the city’s other festival, the Kalilangan in February, during the city’s foundation.
Then, he improved upon the Tuna Float Competition and turned it into a Parade of Lights, so the floats would look good in daytime or nighttime.
Then, composer Martin Leyson‘s 5-year old Tunafest Theme Song was re-engineered, some of the lyrics changed, adding into the song other names for Tuna like the Hawaiian “AHI“, the Tagalog “TAMBAKOL” and of course, “BARILES“. This time, it was more upbeat, the drums more pronounced, and the rhythm even more danceable.
Instead of the usual live drums, the new recorded song became the official jingle for the Mardi Gras Carousel parade of the participating contingents from GenSan’s primary and secondary schools. Large speakers were scatterred along the parade route from Pioneer Avenue, simultaneously blaring out the faster, hippier song for the participants to dance to.
Copies of the new version were likewise given to ABS-CBN and all the accredited FM and AM radio stations which they started playing two weeks prior to the festival. This gave unprecedented mileage to the Tunafest.
With a limited budget, he trimmed off the fat and had to make do without a good number of sporting events which the mayor suggested, are better off in the city’s other 3 festivals (Kalilangan, Pasko sa GenSan, Yaman GenSan). This is an unpopular decision he had to take to balance the mix of the events and in doing, increase the prizes for the major ones.
When Orman’s group designed the set-up of the oval plaza, he was guided by the Tourism Council’s directive that the Tunafest should give more emphasis on food. That was why they gave more spaces to stalls and booths which serve food and drinks there, thus turning the C.P.Garcia park into one huge picnic grounds.
All these must have been noticed by the people who first trekked to the oval plaza, enjoyed what they saw, and later told others about it. And with the radio and TV constantly reminding the “generals” of the daily Tunafest activities, the people’s desire to go out and enjoy the Tuna Festival increased.
And so from the time the 2009 Tuna Festival softly commenced with the conduct of the National Tuna Congress on August 27, up to the time of its formal opening on the 28th, the people’s participation grew with more and more spectators patronizing the daily events at all official venues.
Official venues included the GenSan Gym in Lagao which hosted the hugely successful 11th National Tuna Congress which saw Presidentiables Noli de Castro, Loren Legarda and now Vice-Presidentiable Mar Roxas in attendance.
It also hosted the jampacked 8th Tuna Cheerdance Competition.
Then there was the Gaisano Mall of GenSan which staged the Bodyfest, Ms. GenSan, Tunafish Dance Competition Prelims, the Culinary Expo, and the Munting Mutya ng GenSan.
The KCC Mall of GenSan on the other hand, hosted the Kapuso Mall Show (with Starstruck Star Mark Herras) and Golden State College’s Culinary Skills Olympics, both very well-attended events.
A lot of photographers and some local and foreign tourists also hied off to the GenSan Fishport complex to witness the “Fishfest sa Fishport”. On hand to receive them were Mr. Mike Lamberte, Fishport Manager and his amiable staff.
And of course, the East Asia Royale Hotel hosted the two-day biggest foam party in Mindanao, held at its Arcade Carpark, which drew in young folks from as far as Davao and the farthest parts of Region 12.
Doing its share is the Pioneer Avenue which was the site of the MardiGras Carousel. Bariles himself was not prepared for the onslaught of people who swarmed the tuna floats, the costumed dancers and cheered for the contingents. It was a photographer’s haven as cameras of all shapes and sizes were competing to get the best angles of the MardiGras participants and the floats. Some trained their lenses on the spectators themselves.
Let’s not forget the Oval Plaza itself, or C.P. Garcia Park where the Opening and Closing ceremonies were held and where more than 15,000 people from all walks of life and from all over the region and elsewhere converged on the final day, had fun and joined in the festivities, thus making this year’s Tuna Festival the most heavily participated and patronized ever.
[…] on the other hand, took time to join the festivities of the 11th Tuna Festival happening at that time and gave the Keynote Speech during the culmination program at the GenSan […]
ang saya-saya talaga… MAGANDANG GENSAN nga… but i mis some of the events…
All of us deserve a pat on our back and a thousand cheers. I am confident this Tunafest 2009 will be remembered most in our history of holding the Tunafest. Biggest mention to the Charter Aniversary, where we got the reason for this celebration.
.-= Elmer Cequina´s last blog ..Tuna Pop Songwriting Competition Concluded =-.
The pictures taken are all great, it completes all the activities of the city’s tuna fest even for those who didn’t witness the entire event. Pang world class na talaga ang ating TUNA FEST, no doubt about it. Congratulations to everyone!
More Power to GENSAN…
To the highest level…as in super! Ganda! Daming tao.negosyante so happy.Congratz Ormz walang kupas ang ganda.
@fahdingding — it was a united effort and happy talaga ako sa support system from my team. all to God’s greater glory!
.-= orman´s last blog ..The Incredible Lightness of Being =-.
wow!grabe!it was overwhelming to be part of gensan!
Congratulations Kuya Orman for a job well done…
That’s GENSAN at its BEST… Magandang Gensan to all…
@prima hower — hi prima… kelan ka ba magho-homecoming? do let us know!
.-= orman´s last blog ..Plaza Heneral Santos Binuksan Na =-.
So proud of you Bariles and Orman. Thank you for keeping us all–Dameans abroad–close to home with your blogs and photo essays. Makes us all want to go home like NOW…AIR SUPPLY performing at my little barrio of birth, LAGAO? Who would have thunk!!! Keep the news flowing…congrats. Prima of Tampa Florida
ganda ng pagkakalahad mo ter. thanks!
.-= orman´s last blog ..Maitum’s Pride =-.
wow………ang galing ng mga post! congats kuya ormz,succesful tuna fest!
sir avel..is it possible if you can post the new Tunafest Theme Song that was re-engineered.
never hear it.. kalooy sab..LOL
fun filled air…. riots of colors…smiling people…
showcasing the best of Gensan’s Tuna Festival…
what can you ask for…?
kudos to the organizers of that magnificent festival..
you did one hell of a job out there!
keep the fire burnin’ guys…
My most unforgettable TUNA Fest so far… After 7 years since 2002, first time ko nakita ulit ang TUNA Fest (I’m in MSU – Marawi during this time from 2003 – 2008)… Dami nga talaga tao during Sept. 5..
Congrats Kuya Orman and to all people behind this successful event… Hopefully, di na 2nd place ang TUNA Fest this year…. let’s settle for the 1st Place….
Miss you Kuya AVEL… Nice Blog…
wow, thanx for sharing! kahit man lang dito nakita ko. salamat ng marami. very detailed, its keeping me informed.
im going home next month. hmmmmmm, im excited to see the changes in our city. sana magbukas na ang robinsonssssss……
thnx po ulit. more power. God bless
superb shoot from no other than the guru leonard pe i LOVE the last pic 🙂 the best ever talaga ang tuna fest this year!!!!
.-= donna´s last blog ..Make-up Artist (my budding career) =-.
I agree!! Congrats to everyone responsible for the very successful tunafest! Esp. to Orman, keep the fire burning!!! I guess, congrats din sa lahat ng generals, coz we all went out and participated :-0
wish im there to discovered the tuna fest,but sad i did not home yet….hard to live if u are far from your home…..which i live now in states….i missed gensan so bad……big improvement now!go go gensan!
what can i say? i missed a lot… next year’s tunafest is already in my calendar… i’ll definitely be home next year…
kudos to the generals behind the success of this event…
here’s to more!!!
wow…the photos will say it all..bongacious ever!
.-= lito´s last blog ..music and memories 5:if this is love =-.
hala ui. i really miss gensan na now more than ever! grabe na ang effort sa mga tao. igo nalang ko ma ibog. actually surprised ang mga fellow generals nako diri, ug sa davao na gi dayo na jod ang gensan for events such as these, napuno daw ang mga hotels. and i think dako jud ug contribution ang imong blog kuya para mahitabo to. more power! 😀
.-= ruki´s last blog ..Rose Red =-.
jampacked post! I luv it! Thanks for the GTX memories!
.-= jinky´s last blog ..18th Mindanao Business Conference in Koronadal City =-.
yeah.. di ko lubos maisip kung san nanggaling mga tao lalo na during the culmination..
added factor pa jud ang timely opening of the PARK…
am so happy to be a GENERAL..
.-= dimple´s last blog ..im going YELLOW on 2010 =-.
That photo of the fireworks by Leonard is simply awe-inspiring… as were the fireworks!! Na-ignoy ang mga taga-Dabaw.. 😀
(Atch, pa-link naman dyan… 😉 )
.-= Blogie´s last blog ..09-09-09 =-.
Very nice, just bad we missed the Mardi Gras.
.-= sheng´s last blog ..Krispy Kreme, Finally! =-.
It was an awesome experience! Thanks for having us!