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Oslob celebrates 6th Heritage Week

| by: Roger Serna

The 6th Oslob Municipal Heritage Week opened last Sept. 22 with a short program at 10 a.m. held at the Cuartel Heritage Park. The celebration’s theme this year is “Kabiling Oslobanon: Handumon ug Atimanon Alang sa Sunod nga Henerasyon” (roughly translated as “Oslob Heritage: To Be Conserved and Preserved for the Next Generation”).

A holy mass and a parade around the town’s main thoroughfares opened the day’s activities. Barangay officials, senior citizens and municipal employees joined the parade.

Gov. Hilario “Junjun” Davide III was the guest speaker in the program that followed the parade. In his message, Davide expressed his admiration over the beauty of the park as he reminded the audience, using the line in his message during the 455th founding anniversary of the province, that “being a Cebuano is neither a privilege, a benefit nor an advantage but it is an obligation, a duty to preserve and maintain the rich cultural heritage for future generations.”

He added that “the Oslobanons, the present generation likewise have the obligation to preserve and maintain the good customs and traditions of the town.”

Upon seeing the cuartel, the bantayan sa hari (watchtower) and the old church, he concluded that “Oslob has a very rich culture” and that the town ‘must have been a major part in the history of the province and the country.’

The cuartel is an old, unfinished structure that dates back to the Spanish era which is described by heritage authorities as one-of-its-kind in the country.

He lauded the Oslobanons for their efforts “in preserving the heritage” and by doing so, “you are a model, you are an example to all towns in the province in preserving our culture” through the annual Heritage Week celebration.

The governor also pointed out tourism as the major economic driver of the town, especially the Sumilon Island, the waterfalls and the whale shark watching in barangay Tan-awan. He looks forward to watching the whale sharks soon with his family.

After the program, Davide planted the heritage tree at the designated site and visited the municipal museum, which is located right behind the cuartel. The museum contains antique furniture, decors, kitchen tools and utensils owned by Oslobanons.

The items in the museum used to be displayed in booths specially constructed by barangay folks for the event in the past celebrations of the heritage week.

In his speech before he officially declared the celebration open, Oslob Mayor Ronald Guaren mentioned that the governor’s attendance despite his hectic schedule, “makes the event more important and memorable.”

He likewise stressed that the celebration “is not only educating the young generation to give importance and value to heritage but also we are also teaching our children to appreciate the works of art of our ancestors.”

He dreads the possibility when these ”old things will be lost and forgotten thus rendering the young generation helpless in tracing their roots and past as the past is important in preparing for the future.”

He ended the talk by quoting the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, who said that “ang hindi marunong lumingon sa kanyang pinanggalingan, ay hindi makarating sa kanyang pinaroroonan.”

In an interview after lunch, the mayor mentioned the proposed restoration of other watchtowers (there are 15 of them) in the town. He proudly stated that one of the benefits of the celebration which also served as his motivation was the residents’ awareness and knowledge of the town’s history as vouched by a foreign tourist.

Other activities of the celebration include tartanilla riding through some streets in the town proper; a competition on the town’s indigenous game–kanga–which is described as the local counterpart for bowling but using flat stones instead of heavy balls; lectures on the town’s history as well as conservation and preservation of heritage sites.

Other activities are revisiting of the town’s old structures from barangay Gawi in the north to barangay Daanlungsod in the south; tree planting; vocal solo and duet competitions of Visayan songs; quiz bowl on Oslob history involving senior citizens; unveiling of the Oslob Museum marker; and awarding of prizes on the last day.