During that extended dinner conversation we had at the new Ormoc Museum with the city’s First Couple – Congressman-elect Richard Gomez and Mayor-elect Lucy Torres-Gomez – our press group discovered more attractions that the city offers.
The Kalachuchi, known for its pristine, elegant beauty and unwavering strength, because it can withstand the hottest of summers, is the official flower of the city. As such, the good-looking tandem decided to hold the Kalachuchi de Mayo Festival, to attract more visitors to the city from the neighboring towns and provinces. The celebration features a parade of colorful floats and groups of street dancers in very attractive costumes.
There is also the Tugob Festival which is a celebration of thanksgiving for the farmers’ bountiful harvest, as the city is blessed with an abundance of agricultural resources such as coconut, rice, pineapple, sugar, livestock, and minerals. This is commemorated alongside the city’s Charter Day celebration every 20th of October. Hopefully, we get a chance to visit the city once again and take part in the revelry. Naturally, these festivals have two-pronged benefits—they put the city in the consciousness of fun-seekers, thus increasing tourist arrivals, and they ignite the economic multiplier effect that does wonders to the city’s coffers.
Another interesting discovery is the Ormocana butterfly, or the Lexias satrapes ormocana, a very rare and beautiful subspecies of the Lexias genus indigenous to the Lake Danao area. According to the mayor, the congressman and she were made aware of its existence when the latter ordered a cultural mapping of the entire city. Earlier discovered by popular lepidopterist, Julian Jumalon, the Ormocana butterfly has attracted quite a number of collectors and enthusiasts to the city, specifically to the Lake Danao area.
Speaking of Lake Danao, we had a very relaxing lunch experience there. Only a 30-minute drive from the city, the 149-hectare guitar-shaped lake offers visitors the pleasure of having a leisurely lunch on board a bamboo raft sailing along the lake, with the cool breeze blowing from all directions, further increasing one’s appetite. This chill-out destination is part of the Lake Danao Natural Park which also includes the majestic Amandiwin mountain range, providing the perfect backdrop for the IG-worthy lake. For first-time visitors to the city, Lake Danao is a “must.”
Another exciting once-in-a-lifetime experience I had during this visit was the Lechon Kumbira (Cebuano for “feast”). Twelve lechons from as many suppliers competed for the recognition of being the Best Lechon in the city, which came with a cash prize of P70,000, and eventually won by Poldang’s Lechon. As guests of the city’s first couple, we were served a tasting sample of each. I’m sure my heart doctor would have frowned on my partaking of each sample, if he knew about it, but I just wanted to have the experience of eating 12 different lechons in one sitting! What a feat that was! Of course, I made sure I had an abundant supply of hot green tea, to wash down the cholesterol, with the help of my Lipitors.
The main event of our Ormoc visit was the Inauguration of Congressman Richard and Mayor Lucy. This was held at the 3782-square-meter Ormoc City Superdome which was filled to the rafters with the family, friends, and other supporters of the newly elected officials who took their oaths of office at this modern and well-equipped venue. They were all dressed to the nines, in various versions of Filipiniana, the ladies, looking very classy in their elaborate ternos, and the gentlemen, spic-and-span in their embroidered barongs.
The inaugural speeches of the city’s First Couple were very inspiring and touched me right to the core. Congressman Richard’s emotion-filled narrative on his journey to the Congressional seat which started with several failures years ago left me teary-eyed, but Mayor Lucy got me all fired up once again when she ended her animated speech with a very uplifting promise, “The best is yet to come!”
With this hardworking couple and their team running the affairs of the city, I am very happy and confident that my mother’s hometown will continue to evolve into a progressive metropolis of the 21st century. For starters, it’s now popularly known as The City of Beautiful People, and with the attractive Congressman Richard-Mayor Lucy tandem as leaders, why not?
YOUR MONDAY CHUCKLE
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