Contests in declamation, oratorical and balitaw contests were staged at the Capitol grounds last Oct. 17. The literary-musical contests replaced the usual Halad sa Kabataan singing competition project of the Provincial Council for the Welfare of Children (PCWC) this year.
It can be recalled that the grand finals of the 2013 Halad sa Kabataan singing competition, which was displaced by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake and super typhoon Yolanda last year, was held only last August as part of the province’s founding anniversary celebration.
The PCWC decided to launch a different set of contests in cooperation with the different divisions of the Department of Education around the province of Cebu as a highlight of this year’s Children’s Month celebration in October.
Elementary pupils competed in the declamation contest. Secondary students fought it out in the oratorical and balitaw contests. Balitaw is a “debate” where the lines are sung.
The obligatory piece for declamation was ”Smart Boy (Girl)” that tells the sad story of a young boy (girl) who was left alone to fend for him/herself after his/her father was incarcerated on a false accusation of drug peddling.
Eleven contestants vied for the prizes at stake. In the end, Katy Christiana Doncaster of Sta. Fe (as coached by Nedie Ofianga) grabbed the top honor with a prize of P5,000. Jannel Malagamba of of Badian (coached by Rebecca Padayhag) and Andrea Gail Gocotano of Minglanilla (coached byJennifer Alidon) were adjudged second and third placers, respectively. They ran home with P3,000 and P2,000 as prizes.
The top three winners also received medals. The non-winners received P1,000 each as consolation prize.
The obligatory piece in the oratorical contest was “My Rights and Responsibilities,” which is in line with the Cebu Province’s theme of the Children’s Month celebration, which is “Katungod Ko, Kaakuhan Ko.”
Eleven high school students vied for the prizes and the honors. In the end, Ejay Christian Co of Mandaue City was adjudged winner. He ran home with P5,000 cash, a plaque and gold medal.
Lourenne Pareja of Bogo City ranked second and Pamela Mae Bitera of Balamban ranked third. Both received medals and P3,000 and P2,000, respectively. The non-winners were awarded P1,000 as consolation prize.
The duo of Mikeeleine Magbanua and Jufferson Margallo of the City of Naga came out best in the balitaw category. The duo received P6,000, plaques and medals. Dr. Mila Espina, Dr. Mathea Baguia and Dr. Mary Ann Flores sat as board of judges.
Dr. Espina, the chairperson, was impressed with the winners that she gave out a free speech summer seminar to the top winners in Speechcom, which she owns.
The pair of Jonalyn Cararag and John Lee Macapobre of Toledo City was adjudged second best and grabbed the P4,000 prize, plaques and medals.
The third prize went to Nenith Mamites and Josericks Babao of Carcar City who brought home P3,000, plaques and medals. The non-winning teams received consolation prizes worth P2,000 each.
Professor Naila Beltran of the Cebu Normal University, who chaired the board of judges briefed the contestants, coaches and the general public on the real nature of the musical art of balitaw. She stressed that the balitaw has a ¾ time signature which distinguishes it from other musical forms.