The following is the Pastores de Naga Christmas Event Launch Speech delivered by Naga City Mayor Valdemar Chiong in SM City Cebu yesterday:
After the Requinto children danced the Pastores during the Suroy-Suroy sa Sugbo last September, Gov. Gwen Garcia tossed us a challenge. She wanted Naga’s festival to revolve around the Pastores and she expected it this December.
And I told myself, why not?
The Pastores tradition is a source of pride in many ways.
For having preserved an age-old Pastores tradition taught by Spanish missionaries, the Requintos has given Naga City a living relic straight from our forgotten past.
Historians will definitely wonder at how a clan managed to hand down verbally from one generation to another in the hinterland barangay of Tagjaguimit a custom rooted during the early years of the Spanish era several centuries ago.
Moreover, the Requintos’ Pastores tradition antedates all other Pastores groups in other parts of the country.
And they’re giving us a cause for celebrating Christmas in a grander manner worthy of a new city.
Shortly after I took over after the late mayor Ferdinand Chiong passed away unexpectedly, I unveiled the 15-point Vision and Leadership 2020 or VAL 2020.
The programs that I outlined included the conduct of an annual festival that will be a source of Naganhon and Cebuano pride.
And the emergence of the Requintos and the Pastores just before we officially became a city last October 2007 seemed to be a gift from heaven.
The Pastores tradition gave us the focus for the conduct of a grand Christmas festival that will place Naga City in the country’s tourism map.
Thus our theme: “Pride in Our Roots; Realizing Our Vision.”
I am definitely honored today as we launch the First Pastores de Naga Christmas Festival.
Aside from the grand Pastores parade and presentation on December 23, 2007 – yes on the 23rd because December 24 shall be devoted to preparing for the family’s Noche Buena and the Christmas Eve mass – we will have the festival of lights, the Indigay sa Parol, and the Belen and Christmas tree displays at the St. Francis of Assisi Ocean Park.
We shall present you the grandest Christmas festival in the province that we intend to surpass every year.
And I am proud to urge you: “Mamasko ta sa Naga bay!”