Calamba stages '5th Buhayani Fest' with Rizal-inspired activities

By Saul Pa-a

June 13, 2018, 9:55 pm

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna -- The 5th Buhayani Festival, in honor of the life and works of Dr. Jose P. Rizal and the lives of everyday heroes, officially kicked off here on Tuesday.

Themed “Buhay ng Bayani, Buhay na Bayani", the festival's start coincided with the city’s celebration of the 120th Philippine Independence Day at the city hall lobby.

The City Cultural Affairs, Tourism, and Sports Development Division (CATSDD) said events and ceremonies are lined up for the week-long festival, in keeping with the ideals and teachings of the Calambeño compatriot and national hero.

The festival runs from June 12 to June 19, Rizal’s 157th birth anniversary.

The week-long festivities come between the two important dates for Filipinos. June 19 is a special non-working holiday in Calamba City, based on Proclamation No. 471 issued by Malacañang Palace.

Laguna 2nd District Rep. Joaquin M. Chipeco Jr., who graced the opening rites, told city officials and multi-sector groups that the “Buhayani Festival” officially begins during the city’s observance of Independence Day, "an occasion that reflects the supreme sacrifice and unequalled love of country by our heroes, among them Calambeño compatriot and National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal, in their own difficult ways to bring us freedom that all of us now enjoy”.

Chipeco described the annual celebration as “distinct".

He said a review on Rizal’s life and works would reveal that the national hero never advocated a bloody fight, but a peaceful path towards justice and equal rights for all Filipinos.

“We in government have a lot to learn from Rizal’s life, views, idealism, and works, which could be applied in our time--the auspicious time for change. That as we tread the path for development, it is important that our collective wisdom and decisions are based on justice for all and the general welfare for all constituents,” he declared.

He said if Rizal believed in the unity and solidarity among Filipinos to address the pangs of foreign subjugation and oppression, the same spirit of cooperation should guide Filipinos at present to advance the government’s programs and achieve development for all.

Meanwhile, the city's CATSDD said the Buhayani Football Club, which also kicked off Tuesday following the Freedom Day rites, was organized to inspire and encourage the young generation to be active in sports and develop fitness like Rizal.

In an interview, Christina Elauria, president of the Calamba Puppies Football Club, which organized the football tourney, said her group has engaged children from 7 to 18 years old to play football.

"Football is a trending sport nowadays,” she noted. “We think of this sport in tribute to our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, to inspire the young people, whom Rizal called the 'hope of the fatherland.'"

Elauria said around 31 football clubs are participating in the competition. These are from Bulacan, Lucena City in Quezon, Sta. Cruz and Los Baños towns the cities of Cabuyao, Sta. Rosa, and San Pedro in Laguna, Manila, and Muntinlupa City.

“This is one big event, rain or shine, and prizes are at stake for winners like trophies and medals for the winning team players and special prizes for the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Best Goalkeeper, Best Defender, and tokens,” she added.

The football teams played according to age-brackets in the eight football fields at the seven-hectare sports complex next to the world’s tallest Rizal Monument and the city’s Jose Rizal Sports Coliseum, which is now under construction.

Museo ni Jose Rizal Calamba (MJRC) curator Zarah Escueta said the “Malikhaing Rizal: Artists’ Backpack” art workshop, which kicked off last June 2, will have Saturday art sessions from 1 to 4 p.m. until July 21.

The workshop will be for the 30 youths, aged 9 to 21, who have been honing their craft in drawing and painting at the MJRC garden.

The day-long Buhayani Jobs Fair was also held Wednesday at the SM City Mall event arena simultaneously with story-telling sessions on “Kwentong Bayani” at the Rizal Shrine. (PNA)