Kaliguan Festival 2008
Text and photos by Jojie Alcantara
The small municipality of Cagwait in Surigao del Sur has a hidden paradise to boast of and a festivity to crow about. Blessed with a horseshoe-shaped cove with a long stretch of fine powdered sand and surrounded by azure colors matching sky and sea, the White Beach (or Waikiki, as the famous American aviator Charles Lindbergh called it the first time he saw it) is a tourism potential only known to its neighboring municipalities for now.
Its festival, however, is a booming event to reckon with. Celebrated every June 21-24th, which is the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist, “Kaliguan” is a coined word to mean location for a good bath and thanksgiving for a blessed bounty. The weeklong festivity holds a prestigious beauty pageant (the Perlas ng Kaliguan), dance performances, sports and cultural activities, all happening on the pristine white beach and participated by neighboring municipalities and cities.
During our 5-day stay there despite threats of supertyphoon Franc, the sun shone on Cagwait and its revelers, and the sea was as sparkling blue as ever. Each day we woke up to a beautiful and different sunrise that wowed us. 19 pretty candidates vied for the Perlas ng Kaliguan, while the Beach Showdown performances were impressive (their version of Davao’s Indak Indak sa Kadalanan). Fireworks were the fitting finale that ended the celebration which marked its 12th year.
Mayor Boni smilingly refer to Cagwait as “The Unseen Paradise” but I have a feeling it won’t live up to its tagline anymore. With the newly constructed roads in Surigao del Sur at present, the road to Cagwait may be as short as 6 hours away from Davao City via San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. Special thanks to Mayor Boni and the LGU staff for our accommodation and stay, Provincial Tourism Officer Lala Ambray and Provincial Administrator Johnny Pimentel and wife Liles. For more information, visit http://www.surigaodelsur.net.