KALILANGAN SA HENERAL SANTOS
By: BaiJanena JA. Tito
Kalilangan is derived from the rootword “Kalilang” which typically means celebration or commemoration in the Maguindanaon dialect.
In a broader perspective, kalilang projects a positive and dynamic meaning for it engulfs the artistic, humane and altruistic aspects of social interaction that takes place in any occasion or celebration.
Kalilangan means festival, feastivity or jubilee. It is a social gathering marked by exchanging of amenities among traditional leaders, elders, allies and subordinates in varying tones.
It is also a pageantry of unique and colorful ethnic rites, rituals and traditions like marriage celebrations, religious ceremonies, anniversaries, funerals, enthronement of royal dignitaries, thanksgiving and other social forms of social, political and economic activities.
It is not just an economic activity, but a continuous season of merriment, gaiety and merrymaking accentuated by sharing of gifts, traditional sports competition, dancing, singing and instrument rendition and other forms of exhibition games, entertainment and amusement.
Kalilangan is a noble tradition. It is a compleat work of art nourished and nurtured a rich cultural heritage that has withstand the test of time from generation to generation. General Santos is a part of this tradition. Let us enshrine the “Kalilangan sa Heneral Santos” in the golden pages of its history.
HISTORY OF “KALILANGAN SA HENERAL SANTOS”
KALILANGAN is Gensan’s cultural festival, a celebration of harmony amidst cultural diversity of its inhabitants, called Generals. Endowed with colorful, dynamic and mystical existence of its tri people (Natives (Blaan’s & T’boli’s) , Muslim Tribe and the majority Christian Groups) , a festival fitted for its convergence whereby peaceful co-existence was conceptualized.
The main uniqueness of Kalilangan is that, it is not religious in nature, unlike most festivals of the country. But rather, it is a festival of unity , of Gensan’s culture, of Gensan’s way of life.
During the advent of festivals, when DOT’s campaign promoted the Philippines as Fiesta Islands, the Generals now thought of conceptualizing a festival that will be uniquely Gensan. “Name the festival” contest was widely disseminated and BaiJanena A. Tito, PhD, entry won the competition . (Please find attached Kalilangan meaning from Dr.. Tito’s entry).
In February 27, 1989, when Gensan celebrated its (50th) ) Golden Foundation Anniversary, the first Kalilangan celebration was staged. It showcased Gensan’s culture, and for the first time, the people felt proud and committed to make the celebration bigger every year.
From then on, Kalilangan became the carrier festival for Gensan’s Foundation Anniversary.
For the past years, Kalilangan continued to be a recipient of National Awards from the Association of Tourism Officers of the Philippines (ATOP) & the Department of Tourism’s “Best Tourism Practices Awards, now known as the “Pearl Awards” . Gensan garnered 2nd and 3rdplacer during the previous years’ competitions. But in 2009 , 2011, 2012 & 2013- Kalilangan was adjudged as the Best Tourism Event of the Philippines, Culture & Arts Category, City Level.
Kalilangan now on its 27th year, remained to be the most awaited cultural festival of the city. The 2013 celebration was more than a convergence amidst divergence, since the organizers (MSU) successfully bought back the culture of the people, transforming our Freedom Park down memory lane, with activities and events that will remind everyone of the games their forefathers used to play.
City Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera, Chairperson of Kalilangan and Atty. Abdurrahman T. Canacan, Chancellor of Mindanao State University & Kalilangan 2014 Co-Chairperson, still crossed their fingers for a more colorful, enjoyable, successful commemoration of Kalilangan in the years to come.