The City of Dumaguete celebrated the Sandurot festival last week in a sort of welcome to the end of the Ghost Month.
In our largely-superstitious community, we have this expression “Dili katuohan apan kalikayan” (Unbelievable but worth avoidable), so we observe some practices passed down to us by our forebears “just in case”.
But the Sandurot Festival is something else. It was conceptualized only some years ago to unite the Dumaguete community into an activity that is reflective of the Dumaguete spirit, breaking away from the traditional Flores de Mayo.
Holding festivals in small cities like Dumaguete not only bolsters local economies but also fosters a sense of belonging and pride within the community.
In Dumaguete, where the pace of life is relatively more relaxed, and personal connections are easier to forge, festivals become a cornerstone of community spirit. This communal interaction strengthens the social fabric, knitting individuals closer, and creating a sense of shared identity.
Beyond the cultural and social benefits, festivals provide a substantial economic boost to small cities. Local businesses, from eateries and hotels to artisans and vendors, witness a surge in activity. Tourists and visitors often explore the surrounding area, injecting much-needed revenue into the local economy.
Moreover, festivals serve as a platform for small businesses to showcase their products and services, helping them gain visibility and support.
Small cities are also usual repositories of unique cultural traditions and local talent that may otherwise go unnoticed. Festivals provide a stage for artists, musicians, craftsmen, and performers to share their skills and creations. This exposure not only allows for the preservation and appreciation of indigenous cultures, but also encourages the growth and evolution of these art forms.
Festivals are powerful magnets for tourism, drawing visitors from neighboring towns, and sometimes even from farther away. This influx of tourists helps put small cities on the map, raising awareness about their distinctive offerings.
Over time, these events can become iconic, attracting repeat visitors, and generating positive word-of-mouth that continues to benefit the City long after the festival has ended.
As Dumaguete prides itself as a University Town, festivals also carry an educational component, imparting knowledge about local history, traditions, and the environment. This educational aspect can be particularly crucial in small cities, where preserving cultural heritage and natural resources may be of paramount importance. Festivals serve as a platform for educating both residents and visitors alike, instilling a sense of pride and responsibility towards their shared environment.
Sandurot, the festival commemorating the arrival of our early settlers and their assimilation into the indigenous community, should not be underestimated. These events serve as vital threads in the fabric of community life, fostering unity, promoting economic growth, and preserving cultural heritage. We should support and participate in these festivals, ensuring that they continue to thrive and inspire generations to come.