Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Davao Bloggers visits City of Tagum


By: Davao Bloggers President Leah Valle

Compiled by City of Tagum Information Officer
Edwin B. Lasquite
Photos by: Angie Maestrado

The Bloggers on the Welcome Pylon of the New CityHall at the Entrance.

Davao Bloggers were fortunate enough to get invited to the 3rd International Rondalla and 10th Musikahan Festival in Tagum this month of February.  Our experience in Tagum were a series of new and adventurous learning as we discover what’s in Tagum City has become. 

We started off in a fun photo caravan with other Tagum photographers as the (CIO) City Information Office spearheaded by City Information Officer III Edwin B. Lasquite toured us to take photos of the city and its spots.  Being located far from the shoreline and no integral scenic spots to boast off, Tagum decided to create parks and festivals to attract guests and visitors.  Now boasting of 14 festivals in a year and parks all throughout the city, that even the public cemetery has one, Tagum was able to create happenings to boost business and tourism.

The Bloggers on the Scenic Entrance View of the New CityHall, Apokon, Tagum City.

For the month of February, Tagum is celebrating Musikahan sa Tagum 2011: Iisang Himig, Pandaigdigang Pagkakaysa.  Music Festival is from Feb 11-20. 

The music festival was a showcase of different string bands from different countries, choral groups, marching brass bands, rondalla artists, drum-buggle-and-lyre corps players, artists specializing in wind and string instruments, as well as percussions from its nearby contingents with around 5,000 people participating and competing in the 10th Musikahan Festival and (12) twelve countries sending their international delegates to Tagum to play in the 3rd International Rondalla Festival – Cuerdas sa Pagkakaysa.

3rd International Rondalla Festival: Cuerdas sa Pagkakaysa

The Bloggers take a poses on the titanic tarpulin of the 3rd International Rondalla Festival.

The rondalla festival is a celebration of the great plucked string tradition of nations of the world.  International delegates from China, India, Indonesia, Israel, Iran, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and USA came to Tagum City to perform their individual repertoire. 

Cities from the different parts of the Philippines sent representatives and Tagum’s very own National Comprehensive High School Rondalla Group participated as well.  Tagum City National Comprehensive High School Rondalla Group performed in the 2010 World Expo in China and, for five days, showcased their talents in the Philippine Pavilion.

Aside from the concerts, the festival also has exhibits, outreach performances, seminars, interactive music cliniquing, and repertoire exchange to name a few.  The 1st  International Rondalla was hosted in Naga City last 2004 and the 2nd in Dumaguete last 2007. 

This festival was organized to create a bond with different countries in pursuit of peace and understanding amongst the world’s cultural differences through music.

Tagum City has indeed showed the ingenuity of how Filipinos create opportunities when there seems to be none.   And in effect, the government created a different attraction focused not on city tourist spots but rather on the unique experiences of every visitor.

For instance, I could almost always not remember the places I’ve been to, but I can vividly remember how it feels like to be in Tagum.  How beautiful the river ride was, how exciting the night market as it sparkled with life and business late in the night.  How flavorful the food and how friendly the people. How great and festive the city as it buzzed with colorful parades and with music echoing in every part of the city.

We became part of many activities, witnessed different performances, got awed by local talents and met different people as everyone gathered to celebrate music in the city.

International and National press groups sent reporters and media groups to cover the festivities providing us bloggers some first hand learning experience by observing and interacting with these people we only have heard of.

We were so fortunate that on our last day, we were able to meet the National Editorial Team of Philippine Daily Inquirer in Secret Garden, a cool restaurant with no legitimate address (no kidding! – you just say at the back of Tagum Doctors) as introduced by  Tagum CIO III Edwin B. Lasquite.

This festival was not only about celebrating but rather a symbolism of how the city government is localizing art and access to music by sponsoring Music scholarships and creating community-focused cultural groups that enables even local barangay residents to perform and improve their talents through interactive learning and performances.

Davao Bloggers feels humbled and grateful to be part of Tagum’s progress as a city and to experience first hand as it come alive in its festivities and colorful celebration of art, music, and (as Ms. Universe candidates say it) world peace.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Music in the Highlands creates Unity in Music

By: Edwin B. Lasquite

Outreach Performances reach Municipality of Talaingod
By: Edwin B. Lasquite of City Information Office/ Music City Gazette

A glimpse of heavenly music that communicates culture and promotes international friendship. No need to go far to have a taste of the different cultural performance of stringed and plucked instruments of the different performing art groups.

The 3rd Internationa Rondalla Festival in the City of Tagum brought music to the highland Municipality of Talingod, Davao del Norte that made it all possible for us to experience a remarkable performance. When the group arrived, school children waved their flaglets, others wore traditional Ata-Manobo costumes as they performed a tribal dance as welcome to the delegates and guests.

The gym was packed with indigenous people, government officials and local residents. Thrilled and grateful for the chance to be visited by International performing groups and to get a taste of there was a real treat.

The PERFORMERS - Music in the Highlands creates Unity in Music.

The Musikahan Outreach program in the Municipality of Talingod was graced by prolific and a dynamic Rondalla Groups- China Broadcasting Chinese Orchestra Plucked and Strings from Beijing, China, Roohtaf of India, Philippines Normal College University Rondalla of Manila, Philippines and Tagum City’s pride the Tagum City National Comprehensive High School, Tagum City, Philippines.

The PERFORMERS Philippines and India - Music in the Highlands creates Unity in Music.

We don’t regularly get the chance to see a live performance of foreign performances and it’s always fascinating to see them up-close, hearing their clean-sounding instruments. It sound sweet, soft and slow to sharp, deep loud and fast. All in all, it’s amazing how music from half way around the globe could miraculously fit and shared to the with people in Talaingod.

City Information Office
Rotary Park and Sport Center
8100 City of Tagum

Nonetheless, judging from what my era gathered these multi-cultural music is impressive, interesting, clever and truly unique. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Exploring Tagum through Trayxi


By: Edwin B. Lasquite

Tagum City can be explored in an hour, the local style. The city may not boast of a taxi, but it can take pride of its “trayxi” – short for tricycle. 

The tricycle operator and driver in action

Don’t sweat a lot. Just make a call to any of our tourism officer to get the numbers of our available tricycle driver. And with just one text message, the especially selected tricycle will be right at your doorstep in a matter of minutes.

 You don’t have to spend much. With just P100 per person, you are now ready to take a bold step in the city’s landmarks and tourist spots. But you don’t have to travel alone. Enjoy the company of your three friends because the tricycle can accommodate as much as four people.
Start your journey to the Rotary Park – the center for sports activities and physical fitness. It is the only inland beach volleydrome in Mindanao.
Then head to the Public Market where you can find the best fresh fruits in season like mango, watermelon, pomelo, pineapple and even the king of all fruits – Durian. After tasting our fresh fruits, you can now see the best public cemetery in the Philippines at Brgy. La Filipina. You won’t think it’s a graveyard at first glance. It’s a park after all.
Go now to our city’s motor pool where you can see how the city government assembles their own material for infrastructure. This is the reason why the city is so progressive. It makes its own raw materials.
Several kilometers away is the New City Hall. Iconic is most appropriate word to describe new city hall, the only one of its kind in the Philippines. Then proceed to Brgy. Apokon where you can find the 28-hectare Energy Park which houses national government and regional center agencies, camp site, park and football field.

Group photo of the taxi operators and drivers with the city tourism council chair Madam Alma Uy the One who authored the said trayxi-short for tricycle and taxi

You may drop by at the Banana Chips Plantation where you can munch the import-quality snacks. Then take a short while as you head towards the New Christ the King Cathedral where you can feel at home at the biggest basilica in Mindanao. Larger than life religious structures and sculptures welcome you. Then witness the Guinness World Record holder as the biggest rosary in the world.
Pass by the old City Hall to take a glimpse at the park where the gigantic Christmas Tree was erected every December. Then you may purchase Tagum-made goodies and souvenir items to take home with you. Finally, end your hour-journey with a meditation at the Regina Rosary where you can see directly the angelic eyes of Mother Mary.

City Tourism Council Chair Madam Alma Uy the authored of the Tagum City tour plan helped the driver in the installation of the tarpaulin with the operators.

Your journey is worth more than a hundred. What’s more important is you are safe and secure because these tricycle drivers were trained by the Department of Tourism. They can even talk to you in simple English if you are not familiar with the local dialect. But take note! There are only thirty of them. So grab your chance now.

The group in the Wacky moments.

Edwin B. Lasquite, MM
City Government of Tagum
Rotary Park and Sports Center
8100 Tagum City
Tel No. (084) 400-3381

I had the change to met this friendly,accommodating trayxi drivers.

Group photo of the taxi operators and drivers with the Davao Bloggers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Photo Safari in Tagum City

I've known Tagum City for a long time already.
For the Bus stop,business trip,but never as a place to relax,chill-out.
My perspective in Tagum City change.Last January 16-17,2010.
When I was 1st year high School I was a trans fee student,in Tagum City but only for 1 week in school there.
(Anyway it's different story to tell,it's a long story).

Back in the Tagum City.
It was my 1st time to join a Photo Safari.
With fellow Bloggers,and photographers.
And I'm so privileged to be part of this Official Photo safari..

Day 1.
Orientation at Shark At the speedboat restaurant.
while orientation and briefing was done by Mr. Edwin Lasquite,
Information Officer II, what will be the content of the 2 day activities.

1st time to experience the boat riding,going to the Mangrove,and floating restaurant.