With COVID-19 restrictions lessen

TACLOBAN CITY– Tourists are expected to flock to this city as it celebrates its annual fiesta-now on its 134th year- on June 30, honoring its patron Senior Santo Niño.

Tourism officer Malou Tabao said that with the restrictions due to the pandemic caused by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been lessened, they expect droves of tourists to come to the city, particularly to witness its Sangyaw Festival’s Parade of Lights scheduled a day before the fiesta.

“We can expect thousands of tourists and guests to come to the city to join us to celebrate our fiesta and watch our activities like our Sangyaw Parade of Lights,” she said Tuesday.
Tabao said that prior to the pandemic, a million of tourists came to the city during its fiesta celebration, many of them Taclobanons who now work and stay abroad.

She said that the festivities also help the local economy with guests staying in hotels, hiring transport vehicles, eating in restaurants, and buying local products, among others.

Among the highlights of the annual city fiesta is the holding of the ‘Sangyaw Festival Parade of Lights’ which is participated by schools and barangays and private sectors.

The contingents have their street performances clad in colorful costumes dancing to a beat, giving honor to the Child Jesus.

For this year, 12 contingents participated who vied for the top prize of P500,000. Each of them was given a subsidy by the city government worth P100,000.

The Sangyaw Festival was organized by former first lady, Imelda Marcos, in 1983 but was stopped after the EDSA Revolution in 1986.

Mayor Alfred Romualdez, nephew of Marcos, revived the cultural festival in 2008, and since then been celebrated during Tacloban’s annual fiesta.

Tacloban is the only area in the Philippines that give honor to Senior Santo Niño in the month of June, unlike in other areas which hold their patron and festival in honor of the Child Jesus every January.

The holding of the city fiesta every June traces the return of the miraculous image of Santo Niño to Tacloban on June 30,1889 after it was found floating off the coast of Semirara Island, Mindoro.

The image, placed in a crate, was among those that were on board a boat from Manila that caught fire while on its way to Tacloban.

The image was brought to Manila for restoration and enhancement.