GMA Regional TV keeps ‘fiesta’ spirit alive
KAPUSO DAY - Butch S. Raquel (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2014 - 12:00am

For GMA Regional TV (GMA RTV), 2013 was a journey that featured plenty of eventful and memorable moments. Despite the many challenges the team may have encountered, GMA RTV managed to successfully achieve its goal of keeping alive the fiesta spirit across the country.

Looking back, GMA RTV started off its first festival participation in 2006 in Digos City, Davao del Sur. This simple idea, which grew bigger and bigger each year, led them to where they are today — at the forefront of promoting the best in the Filipino and our collective love for the truly Filipino fiesta as their brand of entertainment wherever they go.

As early as January of each year, the fiesta spirit comes alive with GMA RTV’s participation in three of the grandest religious festivals in the Visayas — Kalibo, Aklan’s Ati-Atihan; Cebu City’s Sinulog; and Iloilo’s Dinagyang — all celebrated in honor of the Holy Child Jesus.

And 2013 was no different. GMA RTV started its busy year with a bang by sending to these events the biggest Kapuso celebrities to fill each celebration with greater excitement.

To name a few, they were the Kapuso Primetime King and Queen Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera, Royal Couple of Drama Kris Bernal and Aljur Abrenica, multi-awarded actress Lorna Tolentino, and veteran actor Sen. Bong Revilla.

The month of love shortly followed with Bacolod City’s Bacolaodiat, Iloilo’s Paraw Regatta, Bayawan City’s Tawo-Tawo and Baguio City’s Panagbenga or Flower Festival made more thrilling by the presence of GMA’s Prince of Drama Alden Richards, together with the cast members of top-rating shows Temptation of Wife, Pahiram ng Sandali and Indio, among others.

In March, noteworthy were the vibrant fêtes of the Araw ng Dabaw and Kaamulan. The former, a festival to beat as GMA RTV made it three times the fun by bringing to Davao the cast of Indio and Temptation of Wife, plus teen stars from Kakambal ni Eliana; and the latter, featuring Aljur, Mikael Daez, Andrea Torres, and Katrina Halili, among others, who got the chance to explore the scenic province of Bukidnon.

The second quarter of the year also fired up with the Panaad, the so-called Mother of All Festivals in the Negros Province, and Dagupan’s Bangus Festival — feasts where the featured Kapuso artists were yet again favorably received by their supporters.

Subsequently came one of GMA RTV’s milestone events of the year — the first World Costume Festival (WCF) in the Heritage City of Vigan, which coincided with the week-long Binatbatan Festival of the Arts. With GMA Network being the event’s strategic media partner, a number of Kapuso artists walked the runway during the WCF Fellowship and Awards Night donning elaborate costumes from nine major Philippine festivals.

Summer ended with a blast as GMA RTV beat the heat as it capped the season with a grand finale by bringing some of the brightest Kapuso stars, including then newest member of the Kapuso family, Christian Bautista, over to one of the world’s best beaches dubbed Kapuso Weekend in Boracay. Through its Kapuso ng Kalikasan program, GMA RTV also initiated a beach clean-up drive and a donation of artificial reefs to the Boracay Foundation.

One of the notable events in June was Tacloban City’s Sangyaw that boasts of its well-designed floats made of LED lights, which was participated in by the cast of Maghihintay Pa Rin.

The third quarter of 2013 paved the way for Batangas City’s Sublian made more exceptional by the staging of a Kapuso Day — the biggest sunrise-till-sunset stellar fête to be mounted in Southern Luzon — featuring various talents, headlined by Dingdong and Marian, who also topbilled Bohol’s Sandugo Festival.

One of the busiest months of the year was August. In Mindanao alone, two festivals were successfully held — Davao’s annual Kadayawan and Cagayan de Oro’s Kagay-an — during which GMA RTV mounted exhilarating activities accompanied by stricter safety measures at the respective venues following the security threats posted in several areas.

GMA RTV sent a number of A-Listers to join in the said occasions: The cast members of My Husband’s Lover, Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas, Anna Karenina, With A Smile, Mundo Mo’y Akin, Eat Bulaga and Marian — Regional TV’s biggest crowd-drawer — who, once more, unbelievably broke records of phenomenal audience turnouts of 15,000 estimated attendees during Naga City’s Peñafrancia and approximately 6,000 spectators in General Santos’ Tuna Festival, where she brought Dingdong along the following month.

But the fiesta spirit did not stop there. For in the last quarter, GMA RTV spearheaded even bigger affairs showcasing even more celebrities from Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas, Pyra Babaeng Apoy, Dormitoryo, Genesis and other shows, via Negros Oriental’s festival of festivals widely known as Buglasan, Iligan’s Diyandi Festival, Bacolod’s Masskara and Vigan’s Raniag Twilight Festival.

“We know everyone agrees that Filipinos love festivals. These are special times with friends and families, a time for fellowship, at siyempre kainan. For the LGUs and local companies, it’s the perfect setting to get the mileage that would help put in local and foreign tourists,” said Oliver Amoroso, AVP for Integrated Marketing Services Division of GMA Regional TV.

As GMA RTV puts it, these few mentioned festivals where it participated in, are reflections of the diverse cultures, colorful history, strong faith, countless natural possessions and ingenuity of the Filipino people. And the team will definitely not stop in conceptualizing and organizing more meaningful and unforgettable yearly affairs that Filipinos across the country can certainly look forward to.

A good example of which was this year’s series of Kapuso Fans’ Day with the crowd favorite Marian. Ever brimming with her easy-going demeanor, Marian was able to join GMA RTV in 14 cities and provinces in Luzon — Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Vigan, Batangas, Lucena and Naga; Visayas — Cebu, Iloilo, Dumaguete, Bacolod and Bohol; and Mindanao — Davao, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos.

As much as Marian enjoyed her regional tours, she had to lay low because of her upcoming series Carmela but Marian saw herself boarding a plane once more, this time off to the northern part of Cebu as she was headstrong on taking part of GMA RTV’s Operation Bayanihan, the department’s response to their kababayan’s call for help.

“It’s my own little way of giving back to my followers, to those people who have tirelessly showed me their support be it for my TV series or my regional events. Paraan ko rin ito upang ipaalam sa kanila na kasama nila ako hindi lamang sa mga panahong masaya sila kundi pati sa mga oras kung kailan pakiramdam nila ay walang-wala sila,” she shared.

In partnership with the GMA Kapuso Foundation, the Operation Bayanihan aimed to gather cash and in-kind donations for the victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda.

During that time, the network’s stations in Bicol, Iloilo, Bacolod and Cebu immediately dispatched some of their local manpower to help in the relief operations in the nearby areas hit by Yolanda, while assistance was easily provided by the other regional stations in Ilocos, Dagupan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and General Santos.

With a successful year that was, and the prospect of yet another promising year ahead, first VP for GMA Regional TV and concurrent head of the Expansion and Production Services Division of GMA News and Public Affairs Rikki Escudero said, “Regional TV looks forward to delivering another year’s worth of exciting, SRO events and festivals as well as top-rating, relevant local news programs and entertainment specials.”

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