10 Jul Rafthon, Higalaay Street Party and Barangay Gwapo – Sports, Music Events and a Competition You Wouldn’t Dare Miss at the 2015 Kagay-an Festival
Inside the Saint Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral, in front of the Gaston Park, at the rear most portion of the cathedral behind the main altar can be found the statue of St. Augustine of Hippo, the patron saint of Cagayan de Oro and the reason for the city’s annual fiesta celebrations every August 28. Sadly, too many Catholics don’t know why St. Augustine’s statue depicts its right hand holding a human heart. This is to symbolize one of the major slogans in Augustine’s famous writings: “Our hearts are restless until our hearts rest with God.”
The annual Cagayan de Oro fiesta celebration is an annual date and set of events that Cagayanons and visitors look forward to. It is a time when Cagayanons have homecomings and reunions and celebrate with the usual traditional events such as the Miss Cagayan beauty pageant, civic parade, fluvial parade, religious parade, and agro-industrial fair. Originally renamed as the Kagayha-an Festival and later simply as Kagayan Festival, 2015 is the year the festivities carry the official name of Higalaay 2015. It is a word in the vernacular that means being friendly or camaraderie.
However, if you’re the type who is searching for some different events, and not the usual traditional core events, then perhaps these three major events are just for you. They’re not really part of the core events under the City Tourism Board, but they’re somewhat different and will prove to be loads of fun just as good as the core events.
We’re all familiar with triathlons wherein athletes have to do a marathon, swim, and then bike several kilometers for each event up to a finish line. Many local and foreign triathletes have already been competing in various triathlon events all over Luzon.
This year, a different sporting triathlon event is happening in the city. RAFTHON 2015 combines river rafting, marathon, and biking in a unique triathlon-style sport with a twist. Race day is on August 29 and is a team event with 6 members as opposed to triathlons that is an individual sport. The race starts at Uguiaban, Dansolihon and ends at Aura, Mambuaya. For the biking leg, mountain bikes will be used as opposed to racing bikes. For those who simply want to watch or cheer their favorite team, there are public utility jeepneys that ply the routes to Dansolihon and Mambuaya.
There are actually two races but both are still team events. The Raft-Run Event is a 14 km. river rafting race followed by a 10 km. marathon run. The Raft-Bike-Run Event is longer, with a 14 km. initial river rafting race followed by a 35 km. mountain bike race, and finally ending with a 10 km. marathon run.
RAFTHON registration for both events is still ongoing though the organizers did not give a deadline for registration. The event is being hailed as the first of its kind in the whole world and has a chance to make history for the city. RAFTHON is organized Circle Productions, Oro Association of Rafters (OAR), Kagay-an Triathlon Team, JCI Bai Lawanen, and Go Easy Event Productions.
Barangay Gwapo 2015
If you want something less serious and with more twists, this is the contest that you should be watching, whether you’re male or female. This annual male contest event is officially organized and sponsored by ABS-CBN Northern Mindanao in conjunction with the annual city fiesta celebration every August. The talent and brains contest is open to all males from Northern Mindanao with a residency of at least 1 year, aged 18 to 30 years old, must be single, good looking (hence the term “Gwapo”), at least 5 feet and 6 inches tall, and with no criminal record.
When Barangay Gwapo was first initiated by ABS-CBN in 2011, the original concept was to gather male contestants from the different barangays in the city for an alternative male contest in contrast to the traditional Miss Cagayan pageant. This year’s Barangay Gwapo got off to an early start last June 14 when 82 aspirants attended the first screening at the Loreto’s Grill and Restaurant.
This is the first year that the search has become region wide, with aspirants arriving from as far as Butuan, Iligan, and Bukidnon. A second screening was held last July 3 at the same venue for those who weren’t able to make it to the first one. Of course, just attending the screening can be quite an experience with all those handsome and wannabee males vying for the contest, each with their own and unique “It Factor” that will make them stand out from the rest. This year’s screening is also different because it was held behind closed doors, unlike in the previous years wherein screenings were publicly held. And like the past Gwapo pageants, the winner is assured to become a member of the Kapamilya Star Circle and perform in places outside the city, even earning acting slots if necessary. The exact date and venue of the male pageant will be announced later on.
Higalaay Street Party
Though this year’s street party festival venue is yet to be announced, it has already been set at August 29, moved a day from the original 28th so the event may serve as the culminating activity after all the Higalaay Sports Festival events are finished, particularly, the RAFTHON.
This year’s street party festival is being geared as the most colossal to date that will gradually build up to the “Higalaay Countdown” to its climax at 12 midnight that will officially end the month long festivities of the Higalaay Festival 2015. The street party will feature Cagayan de Oro’s top mix DJ’s such as DJ Cocoy Banaag, DJ R.B. Banaag, DJ Kyle Banaag, Foreplay, Amplified, BHM, Beat, DSP, Glow LED Club, and Club DJ.