The Freeman

Hinulawan Festival,

A GOLDEN CELEBRATIO­N

- By Ritche T. Salgado, PTRP

Toledo City also boasts of its many unexplored destinatio­ns and lesser known cultural and heritage sites, which plays a major part in the identity of the province.

Mayor Espinosa revealed that together with Vice Mayor Zambo, plans have been made to further develop the city's industrial glory as potential tourist destinatio­ns. This includes the former mine site of Atlas Consolidat­ed Mining and Developmen­t Corporatio­n, which was once considered as Asia's largest copper mine and the company that made Toledo City into what it is today; and then there's Malubog Lake which is a product of mining in the area, and today a rich habitat teeming with aquatic life and surrounded with lush greeneries.

With all these amazing offerings for its visitors, truly an emerging tourist destinatio­n, Toledo City is definitely a city of gold.

What could an industrial town boast when it comes to tourism? Ask Toledo City. Turned into a city in the 1960' s by virtue of its large copper and gold mining activity and blessed with large industrial players, Toledo City not only boasts as one of Cebu province's key industrial cities, but also as the island's next destinatio­n.

In 2008, under the leadership of then Mayor and now Vice Mayor Arlene Zambo, Toledo City conceived the first Hinulawan Festival, recognizin­g its roots and its main industry, copper and gold mining.

" Tourism has a lot to contribute, especially to the city because without tourism it would be difficult for us to attract visitors and investors," said Toledo City Mayor Aurelio P. Espinosa.

The Hinulawan Festival has since been a lighthouse for many visitors to the city, announcing the city's potential as a tourist destinatio­n.

Hinulawan, according to Mayor Espinosa, is the old name of the city when it was founded as a town in 1861. The town then was named after a river that traversed the original settlement in what is now the Daanglungs­od.

City Tourism Operations Officer Trinidad Bubuli pointed out that presently Hinulawan has come to mean hinagu-ang bulawan for Toledanos, reflecting the four virtues that Toledanos value: golden faith, golden harvest, golden treasure, and golden friendship.

The Hinulawan Festival is celebrated every June 1 to 12 of the year, alongside the commemorat­ion of the feast day of the city's patron saint, St. John of Sahagun on June 12, and highlighte­d by cultural dances performed by students in glittering metallic costumes.

Bubuli said that the costumes of the Hinulawan performers give spectators an awe inspiring presentati­on. Perhaps this is also one of the reasons why in the recently concluded Pasigarbo sa Sugbo, Hinulawan Festival was recognized as one of the best festivals in the province.

Mayor Espinosa, however, emphasized that the Hinulawan Festival is not just about costumes and props, but about the dances and the performanc­e of the devotees of St. John of Sahagun.

Aside from the Hinulawan Festival, Toledo City has scores of other festivitie­s throughout the year. Every January, the city has two major events. During the first week of the month is the city's charter anniversar­y highlighte­d by city-wide activities, and then on the fourth Sunday of January, the city honors the Santo Niño de Cebu with its own version of the Sinulog.

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