Higaalay Kagay-an Festival: Month-Long Celebration of CDO
The City of Golden Friendship becomes abuzz with excitement as the festivities for Higaalay kicks off in the month of August. Cagayan de Oro has a colorful festival which celebrates its patron saint, St. Augustine of Hippo. The celebration is meant to give thanks for the blessings given to the city and its townspeople. Thus, it includes various cultural and socioeconomic activities that promote the city and its culture.
The festival’s name comes from the word “higala,” the Visayan word for friend. Kagay-anons are known to be warm and friendly towards their people and kin. Thus, Higaalay is similar to a party where everyone is invited.
There are activities conducted each day in different parts of the town. Most of them are in the city center or open spaces in malls and parks. It helps to find a house and lot for sale in CDO as early as now to not miss out on the celebration. The list of activities centers on the growth of the community regarding the economy and development. There are also activities based on artistry, culture, and tradition.
Festivities on Growth and Economic Development
The month begins with the Higaalay Agri Fair and Garden Show. The Garden Show is an exhibit for farmers and locals with green thumbs. It allows the people from different barangays to showcase their talent and interest in artistic landscaping and growing plants. The fair provides an opportunity for the local agricultural sector to illustrate how they can help be drivers of economic prosperity. The show runs the whole month of August.
Next, well-known fashion designers take center stage as they gather at Limketkai Center to display their latest collections. The Mindanao Fashion Summit, which lasts for three days, features top designers from CDO, Butuan, Cotabato, Davao, General Santos, Iligan, and Zamboanga City.
On the third week of the month, the Kahimunan Regional Trade Fair launched by the Department of Trade and Industry goes into force. Kahimuhan or “Creations of Northern Mindanao” presents the products of micro and small entrepreneurs from Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental and Misamis Oriental. The products vary from delicacies and organic consumables to handicrafts and hand-woven furniture. The items are made of high-quality materials and have attained export status.
Activities on Art, Culture, and Entertainment
Besides the trade shows and fairs, Higaalay includes a range of events that celebrate the identity and life of the people in Cayagan de Oro.
The 26th and 28th of August mark Kagay-anon Day. At the same time, the last day of the city’s celebration is the feast day of the city’s patron saint. The days will be full of exciting programs in the morning until the evening. Before the three-day festivities, schools, as well as barangay contingents, give lively street performances.
The performers wear bright colored costumes and interpret stories through dance and rhythmic movements. Initially, the performers dance to the Higaonon beat, and the local channel televises their performances.
On the night of the 26th, young women from the barangays of the Golden City compete for the title of Miss Cagayan de Oro. The competition is a pageant where each contestant has a chance to win major and corporate awards. The winner becomes CDO’s Ambassadress of Goodwill as well as the Envoy of Tourism. During the coronation night, the beautiful ladies will present their formal wear, swimwear and perform a number that includes their chosen talent or skill.
Following the night of beauty and elegance are the Street Parade and Floats. Each year brings a new theme, so the floats are always a treat for the eyes. Townspeople, students, civic groups along with individual drum and lyre bands to join the parade. Float decoration is also a competition where competing and non-competing groups gather on the morning of the 27th to join the march.
At night, guests can enjoy the spectacular display of lights at Duaw Kagay-an Park. Families and friends can lay on a blanket and witness the Bisperas Fireworks. The glow of the dancing lights that comes with classical and modern music gives magic to the river banks of Cagayan de Oro.
Feast Day of St. Augustine
The highlight of Kagay-anon Day comes the day after. The Feast Day of Saint Augustine starts with a procession at the Augustine Cathedral. Devotees gather at daybreak and go around the city to honor the city’s patron saint. Shortly after comes Pyro Musical Festival held at Pueblo de Oro Business Park. Experts from all over the country visit the South to present their firework artistry and skills.
Those who would like to witness the fiesta of Kagay-anons can join the Fluvial Procession heading to Cagayan River. Boats and rafts decorated with flowers and flags in yellow and red sail through the river. Each boat carries an image of St. Augustine, Sta. Monica and the patron saints of each barangay. The procession is a way to bless the river as well as promote the protection of the river.
Besides the activities that are part of the town’s heritage, Higaalay also has other events to add to the excitement and merry-making.
Fitness enthusiasts or people who celebrate health can join the Kagay-an Festival Marathon. The marathon has four categories – 3km, 5 km, 21km, and 42km – which helps encourage the citizens of the city to embrace the active lifestyle. The run starts and ends at Centrio Mall. Another type of race is the boat race. The competition allows the people of Cagayan de Oro to show off their skills in boat-making and boating. The Sakay-Sakay Lambago happens at the length of the river.Lastly, the Cagayan de Oro Horsemen, Inc. features the Cowboy Festival Annual Horse, Show. Activities include Oval Race, Obstacle Race and Barrel Race. Riding enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the three-day activities with the stallions.
For a different kind of activity, CDO has Kumbira or a culinary show held at Limketkai. Restaurant owners, hotel chefs, and culinary artists show off their skills in preparing traditional Kagay-anon dishes with their twist. Fans and guests can enjoy the taste of their work for Php60 per day and Php 150 entry charge for the three-day festival.
Kagay-anons make the most of their only festival. There are lots of activities for people of all ages. Moreover, they are not only for the people of the Golden City. The festivities are open to anyone who wishes to immerse themselves in the wonders of Cagayan de Oro.