ORMOC CITY – Thousands of spectators lined up along the city’s thoroughfare for the second Piña Festival with the city’s prime crop — sweet pineapples taking the center stage.
Celebrity couple Mayor Richard Gomez and Leyte 4th district Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez along with other city government officials led the parade before sunset on Sunday. Also joining the parade were candidates of the Miss Ormoc pageant.
This year, 10 schools competed for the PHP500,000 grand prize won by the STI College Ormoc. The group was also the grand champion in last year’s festival. The contingent also bagged the best in street dance award.
Ipil National High School, which was last year’s first runner-up, was also the first runner-up this year and won PHP200, 000. They also bagged second place in the street dancing category.
Eastern Visayas State University Ormoc Campus, the 2nd runner-up in last year’s competition, was again this year’s second runner-up and took home PHP100,000 cash prize. They also won the best in costume and best in choreography special award.
“The Piña Festival is the city’s modest way of paying homage to our patron saints for the countless blessings and goodness the Lord’s showered to the city and its people. We hope that the heaven will find goodness to this offering of ours as we thank God for all his goodness,” said Estrella Serafica-Pangilinan, chairman of the Ormoc Festival and Cultural Foundation.
The Piña Festival is also a celebration of the bountiful harvest of pineapple, a product that is distinct to the city of Ormoc which locals also dubbed as the “city of the most beautiful people.”
Ormoc Queen Pineapple is a variety that is among the sweetest in the world and being produced in farmlands in this city, second to sugarcane that is the top agricultural produce of Ormoc.
“The Piña Festival also seeks to promote not only Ormoc’s very own sweet queen pineapple, but also its people’s strong personality that overcomes challenges and obstacles they faced from personal problem to calamities and disasters,” Gomez said.
At least 500 hectares of local agricultural land, primarily owned by three well-known families, are devoted to pineapple. More than 100 tons of pineapple are produced every year from these plantations.
Ormoc City is a first-class independent component city of Leyte province with a population of 215,031, making it the second most-populous city in the province after Tacloban, the region’s capital. Ormoc is also the economic, cultural, commercial and transportation hub of western Leyte. Roel Amazona/PNA-northboundasia.com