The recent launch of the “My City, My SM” campaign in Cagayan de Oro revealed a goldmine of amazing and diverse attractions, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the City of Golden Friendship.

Just in time for the Kagay-an Festival this August, the event honored international award-winning pianist Rudolf Pelaez Goldez and homegrown entrepreneurs Hendrik Yu, Joanna Cris Yu, and Catherine Genabe of Bigby’s Café. The audience was awed when their panels were unveiled by a Viajero rapeller making a breathtaking drop from the mall ceiling to represent Cagayan de Oro’s adventure tourism.

The event, which had an ethnic theme, was also highlighted by performances by the seven tribes of Northern Mindanao — the Higaonons, the Tala-andigs, the Tigwahanons, the Umayammons, the Matigsalugs, the Manobos, and the Bukidnons who came in their beautiful and colorful costumes. It also featured a cultural presentation by the world-renowned dancers of the Integrated Performing Arts Guild of the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology.

Ushers dressed in ethnic costumes greeted guests including Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, former Cagayan de Oro First Lady Divina Jaraula, Cagayan de Oro Vice Mayor Ian Acenas, DOT-10 Regional Director Catalino Chan III, and City Tourism Officer Imma Rae Gustalao. Prominent Kagay-anons Liceo de Cagayan University Chairman of the Board Rafaelita Pelaez, Cagayan de Oro Heritage Chairperson Lourdes Lavina, Pueblo de Oro President Rudy Menes, City Tourism Board Members Estela Sison and Bishop Fernando Supangan, and Mindanao Goldstar Daily’s Guadalupe Chu were also present.

The event’s guests, who were dressed in ethnic-inspired clothes, had a glimpse of Cagayan de Oro from the 1950s to the present with old photos of the city mounted by the Cagayan de Oro Heritage Council as well as pictures of the modern city presented by the Oro Photographic Society. They also enjoyed going over the replica of the Malasang Eco-Village, as well as exhibits from Viajero and the Oro Rafters Association, which showcased Cagayan de Oro as an adventure destination in the Philippines.

The DOT-10 Signing Ambassadors serenaded the guests while cocktails prepared by Bigby’s were served. The menu included prechon, a Kagay-anon lechon manok wrapped in tortilla with lettuce, cucumber and tomato; sinuglaw, a combination of sinugba and kinilaw soaked in coconut milk, vinegar, tabon-tabon, ginger and salt; binaki, Northern Mindanao’s very own version of corn cake wrapped in fresh corn paper; puto maya, glutinous rice in coconut milk wrapped in bukayo; rice puto and longanissa skewer; and sliced ham sandwich made with Cagayan de Oro’s famous ham.

The “My City, My SM” launch in Cagayan de Oro is the 12th leg of this tourism-driven campaign that features the many cities in the Philippines where SM malls and stores are located.

The first, “I Left My Heart in San Fernando,” honored internationally acclaimed film director Brillante Mendoza and Mutya ng Kapampangan Nicolette Henson. “Cebu, Cebu” showcased the Best of Cebu through socialite Teresin Mendezona and the Aldeguer brothers — Jay, Michael, and Chris; while “Sweet Home Iloilo” featured Dr. Josette Biyo and Mang Inasal’s Edgar Sia II.

Just in time for the Panagbenga Festival in February, “Baguio on My Mind” paid tribute to National Artist Bencab and Binibining Pilipinas Universe 2001 and lawyer Zorayda Andam. During the same month, “Up, Up, and Away with Clark” highlighted the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Clark featuring Dr. Emmanuel Y. Angeles and artist-foodie-writer Claude Tayag.

“If You Are Going to Santa Rosa” gave a rare glimpse of old Santa Rosa through Tatler Philippines managing editor Chit Lijauco and the Tiongco brothers — Emil, Art, and Jun.

“On the Road to Rosales” paid tribute to two generations — National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose and young talents like chess prodigy Samantha Revita and Sudoku Champion Sarah Jane Cua. “Happiness is Lucena” captured the joy of life of Quezonians through Hollywood beauty expert James Cooper and businesswoman Nova Veluz.

Last June, “Kalayaan sa Cavite” celebrated the province’s history, heritage, and heroes through CNN Hero of the Year Efren Penaflorida, Emilo “Orange” Aguinaldo IV, and 1996 Mutya ng Pilipinas International Sheryl Santarin. Just in time for the Sublian Festival in July, the Best of Batangas was highlighted through Atty. Antonio Pastor and beauty queen Kristine Reyes-Alzar.

“The Beauty and Bounty of Davao” was celebrated recently in time for the Kadayawan Festival featuring Miss Universe 1973 and Ballet Philippines President Margie Moran-Floirendo and prominent agro industrialists and environmentalists Angel and Jing and Dr. Bo and Olive Puentestpina.

“My City, My SM” is a joint project of SM and the Department of Tourism with support from The Philippine STAR.

PHOTO: Bigby’s Café and Restaurant’s Henrik and Joanna Cris Yu beside their panel during the “My City, My SM” Launch in SM City Cagayan de Oro.

article from The Philippine Star

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