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PIA Press Release

Feature: 49th Southern Leyte anniversary celebrations to institutionalize historical first mass

By Bong Pedalino

Maasin City (June 3) -- There are certain changes in the observance of the Southern Leyte provincial anniversary this year on July 1.

But the changes have something to do with looking at the past and preparing for the future.

One alteration is that the anniversary Mass will no longer be held on July 1 or the anniversary proper, as per traditional practice, but moved two days in advance to emphasize its great importance, said Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Member Jason Calva, chair of the steering committee, during the Provincial Development Council (PDC) meeting held at the RK Kangleon Function House on Monday.

Calva explained that the anniversary Mass for this year's commemoration will be held on June 29, Monday, at one o'clock in the afternoon, and the venue will be at this city's bus terminal area, obviously to accommodate a huge crowd and to get shielded from the rains, if ever.

Right after the religious activity, by around three in the afternoon, the "Ang Sinugdan" Street Dancing Cultural Show will follow, and this will be participated by the province's eighteen municipalities and one city.

Then a showdown of all the participating groups is slated by six in the early evening, and a fireworks display will cap the day's end.

Rev. Fr. Celso Faller, who was introduced as the representative of Bishop Precioso Cantillas in the PDC meeting, elaborated the Bishop's idea on "Sinugdan Festival."

He said the Bishop wanted so much to institutionalize the historical First Mass by way of showcasing it in the cultural presentations.

The Mass was also set aside in a separate date so everybody can join and attend, and not as an assembly point for the next activity, the anniversary parade, it was learned.

This year's theme, "Southern Leyte: Ang Sinugdan..." (Southern Leyte: The Beginning...) has been seen as a way of refreshing memories, transporting back in times gone, to appreciate the cultural roots of Southern Leytenos, a native race who claimed a place in history as direct participants of the First Mass at Limasawa island more than four centuries ago.

On the other hand, this year's events also serve as a launching point for the 50th or golden anniversary next year, said Calva, who hinted that the 2010 celebration will be grand.

Other activities in the morning of June 29 will be the opening of the Agri-Fish Fair -- and again this is a variation to the usual Agri-Aqua Fair -- a cook fest, and quiz bee.

On June 30, a shootfest at the PNP headquarters will be held, and in the evening, the Search for Miss Southern Leyte, the usual crowd-drawer, where the guest will be Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.

The opening salvo of activities starts on June 26, with a cycling competition and blessing of the new Legislative building in the morning, anniversary walk in the afternoon, and inter-town boxing competition and provincial derby in the evening, where Manny Pacquiao was invited as guest.

On June 27 will be the opening of the Cong. Mercado's cups, badminton and lawn tennis competitions in the morning, regatta, and concert at the park in the afternoon.

By June 28 will be the airsoft competition and continuation of the other sports competition. (PIA-Southern Leyte) [top]

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