The an­nual fes­ti­val gives light and color to Com­postela Val­ley and puts smiles on the faces of its visitors

Sun.Star Davao - - FRONT PAGE - BY CRISTINA E. ALIVIO / Edi­tor

Mon­te­vista, Com­postela Val­ley's Diwanag Fes­ti­val of­fi­cially opens on De­cem­ber 7, 2018, ex­pect­ing to draw in more than last year's 237,000 tourists.

The skills and cre­ativ­ity of the Filipinos in gen­eral are more of­ten chal­lenged and shown dur­ing ex­hibits, con­tests and fes­ti­vals, and Diwanag Fes­ti­val is not an ex­emp­tion to this.

Last De­cem­ber 1, 2018, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Mon­te­vista in Com­postela Val­ley held its soft open­ing of their most-talked about Christmas fes­ti­val, the Diwanag Fes­ti­val.

Diwanag, a port­man­teau of the words Diwa (spirit) and Masanag (bright), is re­ally an apt name for the fes­ti­val, since it ra­di­ates a bright Christmas spirit, giv­ing hap­pi­ness to any­one who feels lonely dur­ing Christmas.

Mon­te­vista held its first Diwanag fes­ti­val in 1999. Since then it never ceases to give its peo­ple joy dur­ing Christmas be­cause the mu­nic­i­pal­ity in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized the fes­ti­val in De­cem­ber of 2005, mak­ing it a month-long cel­e­bra­tion ev­ery De­cem­ber.

The or­di­nance also cre­ated a com­mit­tee for the fes­ti­val to en­sure the smooth flow of all of its events, in­clud­ing the prizes of such event.

Each year, the fes­ti­val’s com­mit­tee as­signs a theme so par­tic­i­pants can eas­ily make or de­sign for their ex­hibit.

This year, the fes­ti­val’s theme is “Churches in the World”, where par­tic­i­pants, the barangays, cre­ate a replica of fa­mous churches that are found in other coun­tries, like France, Italy, and Korea. They build their churches with Christmas dé­cor ma­te­ri­als and light these up us­ing var­i­ous sizes of bulbs and Christmas lights.

One would won­der how pieces of Christmas dec­o­ra­tion cre­ate mag­nif­i­cent cre­ations such as the ex­hibits made by each barangay of this year’s fes­ti­val.

And it was re­ally a great sight to be­hold!

Churches you’ve never been to, but when you see the cre­ation, you’ll be amazed at how the par­tic­i­pants made their church a “real” replica of their model. You can even com­pare with the pic­ture of the real church at­tached to the side of each en­try.

Ev­ery de­tail of the church, save for its sur­round­ings, was present in each en­try. No won­der, Min­dana­wons are known for their cre­ativ­ity and skills.

This year’s num­ber of par­tic­i­pants has reached to 20, that means all 20 barangays of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity par­tic­i­pated. Each barangay were given P70,000 as seed money to cre­ate their en­try. And with this amount, one would won­der how they have been able to pull all their re­sources to cre­ate mas­ter­pieces.

The win­ner will re­ceive P50,000 to­gether with the seed money. How­ever, those who will not make it will re­tain the P70,000 as their con­so­la­tion prize.

Stu­dents were also given the chance to join with their best Christmas tree en­try; the most beau­ti­ful and well-lighted gets the prize.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity also adds up to the ex­hibits, putting up Christmas tun­nel, a thousand lighted roses and many more.

This year’s Diwanag Fes­ti­val of­fi­cially opened last Fri­day, Dec. 7. But ex­cite­ment and joy have al­ready spread by giv­ing bright Christmas spirit since Day 1 of De­cem­ber.

In­flux of tourists

Last year, the tourism com­mit­tee of Mon­te­vista, headed by Elsa Cantrall, tourism co­or­di­na­tor, re­vealed that there were around 237,000, up from only 20,000 in 2016, tourists who came to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to wit­ness what Diwanag is all about.

With this, Mayor Eutro­pio Jayectin of Mon­te­vista said, “”Nag­pasala­mat gyud ko sa so­cial me­dia kay tun­god nila na­pakay­lap sa kadaghanan ang atong Diwanag Fes­ti­val (I am thank­ful to the so­cial me­dia for spread­ing about Diwanag Fes­ti­val).” He at­trib­uted the suc­cess of last year’s fes­ti­val to the so­cial me­dia.

How­ever, with the in­flux of tourists com­ing to Mon­te­vista, will the mu­nic­i­pal­ity be able to cater to its tourists in terms of ac­com­mo­da­tion?

“Our mu­nic­i­pal­ity is a third class mu­nic­i­pal­ity, but we have neigh­bor­ing towns in the prov­inces that can help us ad­dress this is­sue,” Jayectin said, adding that, “but we are still ex­ert­ing more ef­fort to ac­com­mo­date them (visitors), and we will not rest in our ef­fort to ac­com­mo­date more.”

Diwanag Fes­ti­val is con­ve­niently lo­cated at the Mon­te­vista Mu­nic­i­pal Hall’s grounds where it can ac­com­mo­date more than 20,000 peo­ple at a time.

Start­ing De­cem­ber 1, 2018, en­trance to the fes­ti­val is free up to De­cem­ber 7. How­ever, you need not fret, as on De­cem­ber 8 up to 26, its en­trance fee is only P10.

So ready your car, or your shoes, and ex­pe­ri­ence a bright Christmas spirit at Diwanag Fes­ti­val of Mon­te­vista.

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