I grew up in Tacloban City knowing that there is only one festival that we celebrate and that is, the Pintados Festival. With my first homecoming for a Tacloban City fiesta last year, a new festival emerges (on my own vocabulary), that is, the Sangyaw Festival, and that Pintados Festival is now celebrated simultaneously with the Kasadyaan Festival.  

It was only then that I learned from fellow travel bloggers that the Sangyaw Festival has been celebrated since 2008.  And making my further research to feed my curiosity, Sangyaw Festival was held in the year 1974 and was cancelled in the year 1987.  Why?  Quite political in nature.

Last year's Sangyaw Festival I recall was held on the day of the city's fiesta.  It was dubbed as the parade of lights.  This year is quite different. A parade of thanksgiving - for the second chance of life that was given- and as a tribute to the various organizations and individuals who in one way or another showed their love and support in building an even better Tacloban City.

Last 29 June 2014, the street dancing took place albeit threats of rain to fall.  Major streets of Tacloban City's downtown area were filled by spectators with smiles and glimmers of hope, as they witness execution of dance routines complemented by colorful costumes as well as gimmicks of merry-makers from varied participants.

The Humanitarian Community

After typhoon Yolanda, Tacloban City has been a community of varied organizations and private individuals with the sole aim of providing assistance in the relief and rehabilitation of the city and its people.  The last time I was on board the plane coming home to Tacloban, I was even confused if I was boarded on the correct flight destination, as most were foreigners and members of the international media.

These organizations and compassionate foreigners have seen Tacloban City as their new home and even made friends with most of the residents who stayed in the city.  Thus, it is time we honor them for their relentless efforts and support, by making them a part of the festival parade, as they have become a family to the residents of the city.

"To herald news" is the Waray translation of Sangyaw.  With this year's celebration, it is indeed a declaration to the world that we are grateful for the love and support of the various nations, private individuals and sectors in helping us rebuild Tacloban City.  

Photos courtesy of Paulo Monge.

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