Phenomenal: Ormoc City’s Piña Festival

Aside from the prestigious Ms. Ormoc and well-celebrated Parade of Lights, one of the most awaited highlights of the Ormoc City Fiesta Celebration is the Piña Festival. This festival is a celebration of faith and gratitude of Ormocanons to its patron Saints Peter and Paul.

On its 3rd year, this festival has already established a reputation as a crowd-drawer fair. Mass spectators are composed not only of Ormocanons, but also visitors from other localities in the region and in the Philippines.

The street parade starts at 4PM from the New Ormoc City Hall going to the main streets and ends at the City Quadrangle where an enormous platform awaits performers.

Over 500 performers from 8 competing contingents representing high schools and colleges graced their way with progressive dance performances passing through 5 judging stations.

Streets were covered with vibrant colors igniting the festive mood. These bring about beautiful smiles not only from the performers but most especially from the excited viewers.

Around 45,000 kids and kids-at-heart flocked the main roads to witness the much-awaited annual Piña Festival.

Piña Festival Queen 2018 Charybel Faith Dizon waves goodbye to the viewers and to her crown as their SAL Pineapple festival float came closer to the venue of the grand showdown. In few moments, she will have to pass down the title to the day’s most outstanding Festival Queen. With her on the float are artists Joross Gamboa and Akihiro Blanco, as well as Miss Ormoc 2018 Alexa Marie Matuguina.

Tailing the parade are the fascinating festival floats showcasing some of the Story Book characters as presented during the recently held Parade of Lights organized by Rotary Club of Ormoc led by Rotarian Anna Bumagat.

Piña Festival Queens swirling around with Ormoc’s queen pineapple are also the fine apple of the eye. 8 lovely ladies greatly contributed to the all-out festive Piña experience.

On the spacious stage is where a preliminary program was held while the festival parade is on its way. Hosted by Bom, Bonard, and Devran, 3 of the most in-demand hosts of Ormoc City, the audience participated in the Piña on-the-spot dance contest and enjoyed their prizes.

Just in time for the evening’s darkness to reveal the stunning costume colours and glamours, the grand showdown has started and went on with a thrill. The stage was filled with jaw-dropping performances to the tune of the Piña Festival Jingle, each of which started with a story ritual about Ormocanon’s culture of love and faith.

The crowd gets hyped each time the performers’ feet stomps the ground, adding up to the musicality.

The showdown that left the audience with goosebumps was followed by a celebration of grace and beauty from equally competitive festival queens as they own the stage with their breathtaking group and solo performances. Viva! Viva! Viva!

Of course, the night won’t be complete without the farewell walk of the [once] reigning Piña Festival Queen 2018. With her naturally possessed charm and elegance, you won’t be surprised to know that she was also crowned as Ms. Western Leyte College 2015 and Lawig Festival Queen 2017.

4th District of Leyte Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez, on her speech, told the massive crowd that the celebration, aside from praising patron Saints Peter and Paul, recognizes the efforts of the industrious farmers and planters. “Please know that you are appreciated”, her soft angelic voice echoed around. The congresswoman likewise pointed out the importance of the Ormocanon’s happiness quotient as something to be considered in measuring a city’s development.

“There are so many reasons to come and stay in Ormoc”, said Mayor Richard Gomez in his message to the thousands of attentive audience. He emphasized that these events won’t be successful without the hard work of the Fiesta Executive Committee and the hundreds of uniformed personnel and force multipliers maintaining Ormoc’s reputation as the safest city in the Philippines.

Aside from the power couple celebrities, artists Joross Gamboa and Akihiro Blanco were also around. Their song number sent the crowd screaming in kilig as they roamed around to take groufie with the crowd. Dance Sports Team Ormoc and Coast Guard District EV were also in a mission to feature powerful intermission numbers.

Since they are the people behind this grandiose event, the City Officials and the Fiesta ExeCom were requested to perform the Piña Dance together with the crowd. The hardworking officials and ExeCom danced gracefully as if there has been no stressful extensive preparations prior to this.

Since the month of March, the Fiesta Executive Committee, led by the dynamic Chairman Jude Abenoja, had series of meetings to discuss and iron-out fiesta events for Ormocanons. On the other hand, Ormoc Festival and Cultural Foundation (OFCF) is on top of all the organizing efforts for Piña Festival. Its President, Maria Estrella Pangilinan (Tita Tiling as we call her) have been personally hands-on in ensuring everything goes best.

Their tremendous efforts in all the preparations of this festival and all fiesta month-long activities, as well as the public’s overwhelming participation, are well-acknowledged by Mayor Richard Gomez who thanked them in his message.

During the unifying dance before the announcement of winners, this little dancer stood out among the contingents for passionately executing the dance routine despite his age. This child, like all others participants, seemed to genuinely love what he is doing.

Despite enjoyment and spirit of family and fun, the evening has to end as a competition as it is. Winners were recognized, congratulated, and given the spotlight.

What more remarkable way to end a grandiose festival with a blast than a grand fireworks where people can gaze at with a heart full of gratitude. Truly, Ormoc City is a happy City of Beautiful People. Viva San Pedro y San Pablo! Viva!

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