Santiago City celebrates unity in diversity


Bernard Supetran
Bernard Supetran | May 28, 2013

Santiago City celebrates unity in diversity

For more than a decade now, the City of Santiago in Isabela, has been celebrating unity in diversity by bringing to the fore its unique confluence of cultures, and ethno-linguistic influences.

This veritable display of character and unity came to life once more in the recently-concluded Pattaradday Festival as part of the City’s 19th foundation day.

The Ibanag word for unity, the festivity was initiated by civic leaders, the art community, and the local government to put to the fore the city's identity and diverse origins.

“Pattaradday unifies the city’s 14 ethno-linguistic groups and highlights the unity of our people despite their cultural diversity,” says Santiago City Mayor Amelita Navarro who inaugurated the festival in 2000.

She said that Pattaradday represents the peaceful coexistence and unity in diversity among the city’s inhabitants of diverse backgrounds. It is also home to Muslim, Chinese and Indian minorities, and a bustling art community making Santiago a cultural melting pot in northern Luzon.

With the theme “Magkaisa Tungo sa Maunlad Lipunan”, events included a grand Santacruzan, socio-civic awards, a cookfest of local cuisine, revival of indigenous games, and a kite-flying exhibition, a traditional Spanish-era recreation in Isabela.

The festival’s locus is the Grand Character Parade which highlighted Santiago as a “character city” which integrates the development of moral values in local governance.

Navarro noted the city emphasizes prayerfulness, obedience, humility, perseverance, punctuality, honesty, responsibility, generosity, contentment, and forgiveness in its community life.

The parade also featured the trademark “La Gran Batalla” dance based on a Moro-Moro tradition depicting St. James’ conquest of the Moors. The dance became the subject of research and performance of the famed Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and won international acclaim in Moscow in the 1980s.

Because of its rich historical heritage, the festival was named three-time Best Tourism Event from 2006 to 2008 Awardee by the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) and was elevated to its Hall of Fame.

Adding color to the celebration were visiting street dance contingents such as Gilon Gilon Bangus Festival of Dagupan City, Ibon-Ebun Fest of Candaba, Pampanga, and Bindayan Fest of Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.

The festival also showcased the economic and political strides Santiago has made since its conversion into a city in 1994.

Situated in the heart of Isabela, Santiago is the agro-industrial and commercial hub of Cagayan Valley, and the first town to be converted into a component city in the region.

The city’s rich heritage is documented in a recently-launched 170-page coffeetable book titled“Santiago de Carig: Pattaradday City,” authored by Emmanuel Sison and Lilia Cinco Sison.

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