High school and college students who loved to perform the art of “balak”. a debate in poetic verse, will have the chance to showcase their rare skills and talents on poetry in a local competition.

This after the City Tourism Board and the City Government of Cagayan de Oro agreed to include the student category (high school and college) in the first-ever “Balak Idol: Cagayan de Oro Edition” on May 23, 2010.

Ingrid Chaves-Agudo, City Tourism Board member and chair of the event, said the contest aims to instill pride and confidence on one?s roots/ancestry, and to preserve the art of “BALAK” – a debate in poetic verse, which is slowly becoming extinct because of external influence.

The contest also hopes to cultivate the art of public speaking, debate and poetry in the vernacular and to promote goodwill among members of the community, Agudo added.

The contest is open to all residents of Cagayan de Oro City. The entrants? registration form must be signed by their Barangay Captain to certify that he / she is a bonafide resident of barangay.

The “Balak” must be at least two (2) minutes long but not exceeding five (5) minutes and must be as close to the vernacular as possible. The content or message of the “Balak” must not be offensive to public morals, must not use indecent language and must promote goodwill in the community suggested topic such as: love, pride for the country, praise of person/s, expressions of virtues and the like. The contest piece must be original.

The piece should have a proper rhyming and cadence must be observed, use of background music (live or canned) is allowed but must not interfere with the delivery of the contest piece, wearing of costume and use of props may enhance the over-all delivery but will not be judged. The decision of the board of judges is final.

Criteria for judging will be 30% for content/message, 20% on rhyme/cadence, 20% on delivery/voice, 20% on originality and 10% on audience impact.

The Grand Champion in the barangay category will receive P15,000 plus a trophy, while the first and second runner-up will receive P10,000 and P5,000 plus trophy, respectively.

Top three (3) winners in the student category will get P10,000, P7,000 and P5,000 for the first placer, second placer and third placer, respectively.

Non-winners in both categories will each receive a consolation prize of P1,000. (City Information Office)

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