The Sandurot Festival is one of the most highly anticipated festivals in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, which is observed every November 21 and last for five days. This is a joyful celebration of the people of the city (also dubbed as “City of Gentle People” and “university-city”), their friendliness, their innate hospitality and their propensity to live harmoniously with people from different cultures, races and religions, which is why the event is very significant in understanding the religious cultures of the Dumaguetehanons. Through the course of history, these people have always been known to welcome strangers from different shores and live with them in complete peace and understanding.
Etymology and Brief History
The word “sandurot” is taken from the Visayan word “pakig-sandurot”, which means “fellowship and reaching out” in the offering and enjoyment of hospitality. Rightfully, it was then used to call a colorful annual fiesta that commemorates the rich history of Dumaguete, dating back to the pre-Hispanic period when peoples of different and foreign cultures, including Spanish, Japanese and Chinese, came together to establish a diverse community that is Dumaguete. This event is also a celebration for the entire Roman Catholic community in the city for their patroness, St. Catherine de Alexandria, who is the patroness saint of the philosophers.
What to Expect
Usually, the festival starts with a program at the Rizal Boulevard and a ceremony that welcomes the different cultural stains that enriched Dumaguete’s character, which will be followed by a joyful street-dancing competition and interesting field presentations. These presentations would focus on the city’s origin and the way it got its name. In the past festivals, they always showcased a re-enactment of how the city entices people from other countries to come and stay through song and dance presentations. Specifically, the festival is divided into 2 parts, which are the “Pasigarbo” or street dancing that begins at the Rizal Boulevard and the “Pasundayag” or grand festival showdown which is done at the Quezon Park.
Aside from being participated by the barangays, schools and civic organizations in the city, the event has always been joined by delegates from Alameda, California and Yeongdong-gun, South Korea, which are both sister cities of Dumaguete. Different contingents would be parading the city streets adding to the colors of this vibrant festival.
But since 2013, the festival participants have shifted from barangay to school-based, where contingents were from schools and colleges, such as Dumaguete City High School (DCHS), Asian College Dumaguete (ACSAT), Negros Oriental HS, Piapi High School and St. Paul University-Dumaguete.
This event is organized by the local government of Dumaguete, with the organizers making it a point that all foreign cultures that have had an influence on the city, should be represented, which entices diplomats and international visitors to come over to join the celebration. Not only the delegates, but also the mayors, of the sister cities of Dumaguete have came to experience the event themselves.
Among the main events of the festivals in the past years include a very successful food expo, which brought back the flavors of Dumaguete and was held to also celebrate the World Tourism Day. During such event, a lot of chefs and business owners have showcased what they can offer to satisfy the gastronomic cravings of the locals and tourists alike.
Now, if you are planning to visit this wonderful city in the Philippines, make sure you schedule it to coincide with the Sandurot Festival!